BROOKLINE, Mass. — No one has seen a movie at the the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline since March, but Executive Director Katherine Tallman is getting ready to host a crowd, albeit a smaller one.
“It’s all about safety,” she said. “It’s about making sure our customers feel safe, our staff feels safe.”
Changes will start before a visitor even gets to the theater. All tickets will be sold online.
“We’ve been thinking about implementing reserved seating for some time. We’re working on that now, so that people will know exactly what seat they have, and then they won’t feel like they have to get here early and stand in line,” said Tallman. “Our staff will have a bit more of an ushering role than they’ve ever had.”
Ultimately, only a quarter of the the seats will be sold to maintain plenty of space between people.
Despite the reduced capacity, Tallman doesn’t expect to increase ticket prices.
In Massachusetts, movie theaters are part of Phase Three. Tallman expects to get further clarification from Governor Baker soon.
Boston Globe Film Critic Ty Burr says each company is taking a different approach to dealing with the coronavirus.
“All the major chains have announced new sanitation procedures and protocols and some of them are different,” he said. “Everybody’s putting in new air filtration systems, everybody’s insisting on online ticket sales.”
Big budget blockbusters are standing by for summer crowds, like Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s live-action adaptation of Mulan. Both are now scheduled to be released in July.
“There are plenty of movies, movies that were supposed to come out earlier, and in June and May, that have been pushed back,” said Burr. “Many titles have been pushed back into the fall, and even into 2021 -- a James Bond movie.”
After months of streaming Netflix and Prime, Tallman hopes that people are now ready for the big screen experience again.
“The death of cinema, movie going, has been predicted forever like through video, through streaming, and it always comes back,” she said. “People need to be together, even if they don’t know one another. They just need to share a collective experience and that’s what happens here.”
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