By Nancy Sanchez-Diaz
When COVID-19 broke out in March, large entertainment venues like movie theaters were some of the first businesses to close and now are one of the last to reopen in September.
With an unpredictable Hollywood release schedule, the challenge for a movie theater like Teaneck Cinemas, the heart of Cedar Lane, now lies in attracting theatergoers.
“Because New Jersey and New York kept theaters closed so long, many films have had their releases pushed to next year,” Matthew Latten, owner of Teaneck Cinemas, said via email to The Equinox.
Teaneck Cinemas reopened its doors on Friday, Sept. 4, following the green light from Gov. Phil Murphy.
Besides the unpredictability of movie release dates, a challenge that movie theater owners are now faced with is coming up with creative ways to attract an audience.
“Unlike restaurants, we had no ability to stay open for take-out orders or anything of the like, so we really had no way of ‘getting creative’ until now,” he said.
Latten continued, “ ‘Tenet’ is the only new film that is out, and we are still worried that upcoming movies will be moved back. We will be experimenting with classic films and throwback favorites to fill the screens while Hollywood’s release schedule is still in question.”
With movie theaters being volume-based and COVID-19 regulations requiring an occupancy limit, Latten’s objective is to make the theater experience memorable enough for theatergoers to return.
Like restaurants, theaters and indoor performance venues are permitted to operate at a (25%) limited capacity or an audience of 150.
“Last weekend’s attendance never got close to (25%) for a given show,” Latten said. “We remain confident that people will eventually come back to the movies but, for now, the objective is to make sure that those who do come for a movie have a good enough time to share their experience and let everyone know we’re open.”
Pricing for Teaneck Cinemas remains the same and everyone’s favorite deal remains on the table: All shows before 6 p.m. are $5.
While the current big-movie lineup is set to kick off Oct. 2 with “Wonder Woman 1984,” and on Nov. 20, “No Time to Die” and Pixar’s “Soul,” the future of movie theaters remains to be seen.
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Art by Nancy Sanchez-Diaz
Theater’s reopen with new policies because of COVID-19.