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Metro movie theaters can reopen, but questions remain of when customers will return

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    MERRIAM, KS (KCTV) — Theaters have the green light to reopen Friday, but questions still remain if film fans are going to see movies.

There are no showings scheduled at the Cinemark in Merriam or any other indoor theaters in the metro right now.

Many customers are still showing hesitations going into the confined space of a theater where they would be eating, drinking and laughing in close quarters, raising a number of health concerns.

“I would go, provided they take precautions in the movie and they social distance,” movie-goer Bob Allen said. “I assume they are practicing good cleanliness and hygiene and disinfecting surfaces and that kind of thing, but it doesn’t bother me.”

“I would not go, I would not feel comfortable with crowds indoors,” his wife Kathy Allen countered.

Theater owners will have to figure out the best way to keep people socially distanced and still have the theater experience.

Streaming platforms have become more popular now and some theaters are now streaming online, including Leawood-based AMC Theatres.

Of course, that is not the same as the movie theater experience with an audience and the smell of popcorn. But while theaters figure out the logistics for health and safety, film critic Trey Hock said there are options to keep movie fans occupied and support local.

“If you’re thinking of streaming a film, before you jump on one of the sort of traditional streaming platforms, just Google search to see if one of your local theaters is streaming it,” Hock explained. “This will benefit the film and filmmaker absolutely in the same way that the regular streaming platforms as well as benefiting your local theater.“

Besides streaming, local theater chains are getting creative on how they can keep revenue coming in without new movies being released.

B&B theaters has options to rent out the movie theaters for small groups so people can get their big screen and buttered popcorn fix. The Twin Drive In, also owned by B&B, is open and showing grease Friday night at 9:30.

Most big box theaters plan to reopen by July 17, the day Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” is expected to be released.

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