First new movies set to release in theaters since March

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BRANSON, Mo. – As the AMC theater in Springfield reopens Thursday, Branson’s IMAX theater is gearing up for their first new movie premiere since it first shut down in March due to the pandemic.

The Branson IMAX has been open since June and has played classic movies during its summer rewind series. Their first new movie release will be this weekend featuring Unhinged starring Russell Crowe.

Becky Blair is the creative manager at the Branson IMAX. She is optimistic that business will begin to pick up now with new movies premiering at the IMAX and said, “Branson has always been a great destination for the fall. We’ve got beautiful leaves and scenery and things going on. On top of the fact that Hollywood has a backlog of six months of movies that no one has seen.”

Patrons like Courtney Lantis haven’t been to the movies in months.

“This is my first movie in a long time,” said Lantis. “Before COVID-19, I haven’t been going to the theaters very often, so we’re excited to get out.”

Lantis says she feels comfortable going out to see any movie at this point.

“Now that we’ve all been locked up, it’s nice to get out and just to be able to relax and laugh,” said Lantis. “I’m looking forward to some new movies and some old ones. I don’t really care, just get me out of the house.”

With theaters returning, the real question is, how safe is it inside a theater? Cox Branson’s Doctor Shawn Usery says there are risks to most activities, but you need to try to mitigate those risks as best as possible, especially in closed places.

“I want to talk about staying in your family group away from other family groups to minimize those risks,” said Usery.

Blair also spoke of the new precautions the theater has implemented to keep their customers safe.

“We kind of greet them at the door and let them know just in case they’re not aware. I think everyone is good at putting their mask on to keep everyone safe. We have some exceptional cleaning procedures that we’ve got going on here, which include kind of some special machinery that makes sure to disinfect everything. We’re taking care of all of the high contact touchpoints, on top of the masking usually, when I’m not being interviewed. I think that everyone’s really comfortable coming back to the theaters, and I think they’re exceptionally excited about seeing new movies.”

Dr. Usery says any activity is a risk and a reward to any person, that decision is up to the individual.

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