NEW YORK — John Lucas felt emotional walking into a movie theater for the first time in over a year.
He saw "Nomadland" at the AMC multiplex in Kips Bay on Friday, as cinemas reopened at 25% capacity in the city. Lucas waited to see the film in person, despite it being available to stream at home.
“And it was so worth it. It was gorgeous to be able to see just the vision of that film played exactly how they wanted it to be done," Lucas said. "It was so wide, I just couldn’t believe how much space there was on the screen! It was amazing. I was like lost."
The reopening comes with plenty of COVID-19 protocols: Masks are required except while eating or drinking. At AMC Theaters, the concession menu is temporarily reduced.
Despite the changes, movie buffs are thrilled to be back.
“Holds a special place in both our hearts," August Davis said about movie theaters. "We’ve come here multiple times, we’ve seen so many movies here,” said August Davis.
“And also, it’s a reminder that things are finally getting better,” said Harper Lee Davis.
Each showing can have no more than 50 people. AMC says when moviegoers purchase tickets at one of their theaters, surrounding seats are automatically blocked on all sides. Their auditoriums are also cleaned between each showtime.
“I was at the very last showing the last day before theaters closed last year, so I’m back here on the very first day of the reopening. It felt exactly the same except for this thing right here. Only difference,” Jason Schneider said as he pointed to his mask.
Lucas left the theater inspired, and said the reopening was a positive step toward bringing entertainment back to the city.
“Some people might say that 'It’s just a film, it’s just a play, it’s just TV show,' but, no, it’s more," Lucas said. "It’s a story, it’s life, it’s human experience."
The big question now is, will this reopening be enough to help theaters in the city? So many smaller owned cinemas are still struggling, and even AMC was on the brink of filing for bankruptcy recently.
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