SELMA — It’s showtime.
After being closed for nearly seven months, the projectors and popcorn machines are finally warming up for the re-opening of the Selma 6 Cinemas.
“I think people will be excited to come back to the movies,” said manager David Rivera, who’s been with the theater for 13 years. “As much as we can pack it, this place will be packed.”
The theater, located at 2705 Cinema Way, will reopen Friday evening. The theater will initially have showtimes from around 4-7 p.m. nightly Friday through Sunday, though if there’s enough demand, they’ll add more weekday and late-night screenings, Rivera said.
The theater has joined about 400 other national and independent cinemas for the CinemaSafe initiative. The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) implemented the voluntary set of health and safety protocols in August.
The protocols in place for the Selma 6 include mandatory masks for employees and moviegoers, frequent hand-washing, reduced capacity, social distancing, mobile ticketing, employee health training, enhanced cleaning techniques for auditoriums and all the other safety precautions that have become commonplace since spring.
“In this new pandemic world, moviegoers need to know that there is a consistent, science and experience-based set of health and safety protocols in place no matter what theater they visit. This unprecedented industry-wide effort is a promise designed to meet that need,” said John Fithian, President and CEO of NATO, in a release.
Each of the theater’s six auditoriums will be allowed to fill to 25 percent of capacity, in order to comfortably allow for social distancing. Groups of movie-goers will be sat, via assigned seating, two seats apart. Thanks to the theater’s newly-installed, extra wide recliners, that rule is easy to accommodate.
“It’s a great environment to see a movie in. The new seats definitely add that ‘wow’ factor,” Rivera said. “I tell people that we’re a luxury theater now.”
The seats were installed in February, just a few weeks before theaters were forced to shut down due to the state government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The comfortable recliners have been waiting months to fulfill their destiny of providing moviegoers a comfortable place to relax while enjoying blockbuster entertainment.
In addition, the theater also has new digital menus and two new popcorn machines.
“People say they’d rather come here for the popcorn because the popcorn in Fresno would taste too stale,” Rivera said. “We get that a lot.”
While the pandemic has thrown a wrench into the movie release schedules of every major studio, Rivera said that they expect to have a good mix of new blockbusters and classic family films to show. This week, the theater expects to open with the new Christopher Nolan film, “Tenet,” as well as “The New Mutants," "Black Panther," "Coco," "Save Yourselves" and "Unhinged."
For information and show times, visit www.selmacinemas.com.
Parker Bowman is the editor of the Selma Enterprise Kingsburg Recorder. Email him at email@example.com.
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