Ready to get out? A West Plains movie theater is testing audience turnout

Reopening The Ozarks

WEST PLAINS, Mo- The Glass Sword Theatre is the first sit-in movie theater in the Ozarks to open with new restrictions.

Drive-in theaters have been opened for a couple of weeks now.

Owner of the Glass Sword, Gary York, says as a small business being closed for nearly three months has hurt.

“This has been devastating because us small businesses, we depend on cash flow, and when it stops, the bills right no going on,” says York.

He says the theatre will have the following safety guidelines for moviegoers:

  • Attendees will have their temperatures taken as they enter the theater
  • Only one member per group is allowed to stand in line for concessions
  • Tape on the floor encourages social distancing while standing in line
  • People will be sat every other row
  • Face masks are recommended

“We have to be careful that we don’t have too many customers, which that’s never been the case. This is a very unusual situation because you don’t want your customers to be unsafe, but you also don’t want your employees to be unsafe,” says York.

This weekend the theatre is running limited showings with only four movies. The movies are a mix between classics and 2019 releases. York says Hollywood isn’t coming out with new movies until late July, but the film companies are keeping in touch. Fox and Disney are not letting theaters run any movies right now, but will allow reruns starting in June.

York says this weekend is a test to see if people are truly eager to get out of the house and see a movie in a theater.

Ozarks First reached out to The Moxie Cinema and B&B Theater in Ozark for responses on when they will reopen. B&B shared a statement saying,

We have been heartened and encouraged by recent activity that seems to be moving movie theaters closer to reopening. Our greatest challenge at the moment is the fact that Hollywood is effectively closed as well, making it difficult to secure content. If we were to open our doors tomorrow, there would be no new films to put on screen. Our goal generally is to reopen in late June. We have, at many of our locations, been hosting small scale private events and rentals. This has enabled us to get a finger on the pulse of public interest and get films back on the big screen for small groups. We have also been enthused and encouraged by sold-out showtimes at our drive-in locations, and it is evident that a great many individuals are anxious to get back in theaters and enjoy the magic of the movies.

The Moxie did not respond to our message but did share on Facebook this week their plan to stay closed for at least one more month.

“When we reopen, we will limit ticket sales to allow for social distancing as well as cut back on screenings to give time for proper cleaning. Since ticket and concession sales account for 65% of our operating budget, this means we face a long, challenging road ahead. To meet that challenge, we need to raise $15,000 this month. The good news? We’ve already raised $11,000,” the post states.

According to a survey on Variety, 70% of the roughly 1,000 people surveyed said they would rather watch new movies at home than go to a theater. A significant number of people told pollsters that they would be concerned about attending public events for a long time.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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