AMC Theaters will begin reopening “in waves” beginning on Aug. 20, the company announced Wednesday.
More than 100 theaters across the country will open next week, and two-thirds of the chain’s U.S. locations will be open by Sept. 3, the company said in an email sent to customers Wednesday.
Locations and their opening dates are listed on AMC’s website. Opening dates for theaters in some states like New York, New Jersey and California remain unannounced. “If a date is not listed, the theatre will be reopened based on when its local and state guidelines allow,” AMC’s website said.
AMC, which has about 1,000 theaters worldwide, said it has “opened more than half of our theaters in Europe and the Middle East, safely and without incident.” The remaining theaters in Europe and the Middle East will open on Aug. 26.
Those who return to enjoy the big screen next Thursday will notice the movie-going experience looks a little different.
Masks will be required for all customers and staff. AMC’s chief executive Adam Aron had originally said in June that upon reopening, customers in some parts of the country would be allowed to decide whether they wore masks. After a loud outcry, the company changed course and said masks would be mandatory.
Those who forget a mask can purchase one for $1, according to AMC. They are required to be worn in auditorium, except when people are eating.
Speaking of concessions, the chain will be offering a limited menu for the time being. Popcorn is in; free drink refills are out. And the company says customers will have to ask for condiments and paper goods since they won’t be available at self-service stations.
The auditoriums themselves will only be filled to 30 percent capacity, and showings will be spaced out to allow extra time for cleaning, AMC said. Staffers will have their temperatures taken before shifts, and wipes and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the theaters.
Some theaters will be reopening in time for Disney’s latest installment in the X-Men Cinematic Universe, “The New Mutants,” which debuts Aug. 28. Warner Brothers’ “Tenet,” directed by Christopher Nolan, opens on Sept. 3. And “Unhinged,” starring Russell Crowe, debuts on Aug. 21.
AMC will also be showing some classics like “Back to the Future,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.” Tickets for those films will be $5 plus tax.
Daniel Arkin contributed.