Over 90% of movie theater goers said they were happy with their experience

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USA Today’s Entertainment section had an article about returning to the movie theater this Memorial Day Weekend and what to look out for. I read it with interest as I haven’t gone back to indoor movies yet despite being fully vaccinated. They quote a recent Fandango survey of ticket buyers. Over 93% were happy with their moviegoing experience. Less people, 87%, said the theaters “did a great job of keeping them safe.” That’s better than I thought it would be, however these are the people who chose to the go to the movies of course. It feels like it’s too soon to a lot of us. USA Today also has tips about going back, and they include the fact that AMC no longer lets you put your own butter on popcorn or dispense your own drinks. Good.

With just over 39% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated as the world rapidly opens up, most movie theaters are still taking safety precautions against the ongoing pandemic. And according to a Fandango.com survey of 4,000 ticket-buyers, 93% were happy with their return experience and 87% said theaters did a great job of making them feel safe.

If you’re someone who enjoys drowning your popcorn in butter or making your own concoctions with the touch-screen soda fountain, you’re in for some disappointment: Butter dispensers and soda machines are blocked off from customers at AMC. (Drink refills have also been nixed, but you can still get small plastic containers of butter to mix in your popcorn later.)

To get concessions, you can either wait in line or schedule an order for pickup using the AMC smartphone app. If you choose the latter option, you can easily pick up your bag of concessions in the theater lobby (although brace yourself for cold popcorn).

Like many restaurants post-COVID, dine-in theaters use a mix of physical menus and scannable QR codes to pull up their food and drink offerings by phone before the movie. IFC Center and the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, meanwhile, have paused concession sales altogether and don’t allow eating or drinking in the auditoriums.

Most theater chains, such as Cinemark and Regal, allow you to remove your mask while eating and drinking, but ask that you wear it at all other times…

Overall, my first few trips back to theaters were equal parts jittery and joyful, but I now feel just about as comfortable in a theater as I did pre-pandemic. As we all fall back into familiar routines and activities at our own pace, just remember to be respectful of your fellow moviegoers and hardworking theater staff, so we can all have the safest and most enjoyable big-screen experience possible.

[From USA Today]

Author Patrick Ryan said ushers aren’t really visible or I assume enforcing anything, which is to be expected. They’re teenagers mostly and they couldn’t enforce mask-wearing without getting abuse when it was required during the height of covid. I was reassured by the fact that he feels safe at least. One of my friends saw Nobody at an Alamo theater and he had a similar experience. He was impressed at how safe and “normal” it felt. I just booked tickets to see the earliest showing of A Quiet Place II on Sunday at my local theater! It’s supposed to rain all Memorial Day weekend so it’s not like I can get outside much. You can pick your own seat, which is another advantage mentioned in that article, but all the seats were available. I hope no one sits next to me. I can always move if I want to. As I’ve mentioned, I’m working on my anxiety around maskless people. I would love to go back to doing things in public now that it’s objectively safe. As Gayle King recently said, baby steps.

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Photos credit: Getty, Krists Luhaers on Unsplash and Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels

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14 Responses to “Over 90% of movie theater goers said they were happy with their experience”

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  1. Ariel says:

    I used to love a 10am movie in a mostly empty theatre on a Saturday morning. It really may be the way to go this summer if the AMC Palace is doing 10-10:30 showings, and there’s something worth seeing.

  2. LightPurple says:

    I’m interested and might go if I find a film that interests me. I went a few times late last summer before our second shut down but haven’t been back since they reopened again. I saw Tenant in a huge IMAX theater with 3 other people. We all had assigned seats that were nowhere near one another. There were hand sanitizers everywhere, concessions were closed, and they had wipes for us to wipe down our chairs or anything else we didn’t want to touch. It was a bit surreal but I felt safe.

  3. Becks1 says:

    At our local AMC theater, if you book your seat, they block out the seats around you automatically, which is nice. I actually don’t know if they’re still doing that but I’m hoping so.

    I’m planning on seeing In the Heights when it premieres in the theaters in a few weeks, and I feel pretty relaxed about it. i’ll wear my mask, I don’t know if I’ll eat and drink in the theater or just skip it (so expensive anyway lol), and I’m fully vaccinated. So I feel okay going.

  4. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    I miss theaters and restaurants- I’ve been full vaccinated since mid April, but I’m not ready for this yet.

  5. CHIMES@MIDNIGHT says:

    I really, really REALLY was looking forward to seeing In the Heights in theaters, but I’m just not ready yet. Theaters could do everything possible to keep things clean and safe but ultimately it’s up to the other patrons and I don’t trust them not to be obnoxious, self entitled jerks (going to a theater sick, going to the theater and sitting on top of other people, coming in with a group of 6-8 people, all unmasked, etc, etc)

    • Tiffany :) says:

      Yes! So much of my re-entry anxiety is not trusting other people to do the right thing. The past 5 years have put my expectations very low.

  6. Jenns says:

    I just booked my tickets to see A Quiet Place II on Monday. I can’t wait to go back into a movie theater. It looks like most theaters are still blocking out the seat next to you–which is something they can keep way past the pandemic IMO.

  7. EnormousCoat says:

    I’ve been fully vaccinated for over 6 weeks and I’m ready to get back to life (but if people putting their grimy hands all over things is reduced, I’m all for it). The people who won’t get vaccinated (the same who refused to wear masks, or at least with a big overlap) will get sick, but the data says that vaccinated people very likely cannot carry or transmit the virus. So the unvaxxed will be making each other sick, as they would have done and have been doing anyway.
    I’m looking forward to when the vaccines are fully FDA approved (not just emergency) and companies can fire people who choose not to be vaccinated. They are a public health and safety threat and I’m tired of their gross and shameful behavior.

  8. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Call me stupid and silly, but I haven’t been to a theater in years lol. Long before covid, theaters and gyms disgusted me. The establishments might be pristine, fabulous, fun and inviting, but it’s the people lol. People are nasty creatures. You’d be surprised how many still don’t wash hands. Gag gag gag.

  9. olliesmom says:

    I’m fully vaccinated as of eight weeks ago tomorrow and have purchased my ticket online to see A Quiet Place II this Sunday during the first showing that day which is 1 pm at my local AMC theatre. I’m so excited. I’m assuming that the theatre has blocked off seats around me because I wasn’t able to choose my seat online when I purchased it (I’m in Illinois). I really don’t know what to expect otherwise. You could even pre-purchase your food and drinks and they would have them ready for you to pick up when you came in for your movie. I did not do that, so I’m not sure if I will have the chance to purchase something if the smell of that movie theatre popcorn for the first time in over a year gets me when I walk into the lobby.

    I have been waiting for this film to come out through all of the release date changes – I love A Quiet Place. I normally don’t see many films in theatres, but this is one that needs to be seen in a theatre.

    I will mask up, make sure that my hands are clean, socially distance and enjoy the show.

  10. Jack says:

    I just saw A Quiet Place 2 at the theatre today. Went to the 2:30 showing and only a handful of people in the theatre. It was at a Cinemark and they do block of the seats on the sides of you to keep social distancing.

    I’ve missed the movies so much! I was happy to be there, but there had a bit of anxiety. I wish people wouldn’t walk so close to each other.

    I’m going to try a restaurant on Sunday. Going to meet family since we haven’t been able to spend time together since Christmas 2019.

  11. Midge says:

    I saw A Quiet Place II last night in Manhattan. There were about 25-30 people in theatre. The theatre has big lazyboy chairs and some seats were blocked. 62% of Manhattan residents are vaccinated and there were only 58 cases in the borough yesterday (out of a population of 1.6 million). It’s safe. I felt safe. I’m vaccinated but wore my mask when I wasn’t sipping my beer. The thing is, if everyone gets vaccinated and wears the mask out of an abundance of caution when indoors around strangers, we win over covid. Movies are made for the big screen, especially a film like A Quiet Place that relies on sound to create suspense. Get vaccinated and go out and support theatres and the film industry.

  12. Ferdinand says:

    I went to a gathering yesterday for the first time in 22 months. There were 8 of us. 7 fully vaccinated. After a while we decided to go maskless and my anxiety kicked in a little. It was in a terrace so it was open air but still we were closer together to feel a little off after all this time of being distant socially.
    Hopefully everything goes well with that, I guess we will know in a week or so.

    I’ve been dying to go to the movies. Cinemas are my vice. On average I watch 90 different movies a year in the theater and I say different because some movies I see twice, I end up going roughly 3 times a week. I’ve been saving a lot during this pandemic because of this and yet I’m not sure if I’m ready to go back.