Inside Canyon Meadows Cinemas, physical distancing has changed the movie experience. Watching an entire row need to shuffle out so people can leave their seats and remain physically distanced is like watching a Three Stooges skit.
As part of their re-opening, which began on June 15, Canyon Meadows has implemented a two-seat gap between groups in their theatres, with every other row empty to ensure movie-goers are physically distanced.
There are other changes in the concession area as well. Sanitization stations sit in front of every entry door, and each concession line is spaced out by two metres.
Of course, there is a cinematic twist on some of the COVID-19 restrictions. Physical distancing stickers play on classic movie lines, such as a Terminator-themed “Stand here, if you want to live” one.
A physical distancing sticker in the lobby of Canyon Meadows Cinemas plays on the words of the 1984 classic The Terminator. Photo: Sam Phelps.
As other theatres, including chains such as Cineplex and Landmark, announce reopening campaigns, one of the interesting aspects of the movie going experience to follow is the actual content being released.
Blockbusters like Marvel Studios’ Black Widow, which was slated to open on May 11, has been pushed to November 6. A similar fate fell on the newest release in the James Bond franchise, as No Time to Die was pushed from April 10 to November 25, according to vulture.com
In the meantime, theatres that have reopened have begun to play older films and movies of interest. Landmark Cinemas, which has three locations within the city, have begun playing cult classics like the original Ghostbusters, The Dark Knight, Deadpool and Saving Private Ryan.
Continuing on the classic movie theme, there are callbacks to other films such as Jaws, E.T. and Finding Nemo with a COVID-19 theme. Photo: Sam Phelps.
Cineplex, which reopened three of their eight Calgary area locations have also followed suit in the “retro revival,” including showing Kill Bill Vol. 2 at their Crowfoot location.
Movie-goers like Stephen Hunt, a former entertainment reporter for the Calgary Herald, a huge cinema and live theatre buff, says he’s missed the whole theatre experience.
“I’m dying to go back to the movies. I’m craving it. It’s summertime, it’s when you go for the air conditioning, the popcorn and the superhero movies.”
— Stephen Hunt
Hunt is looking forward to some of the blockbusters that will roll out in the fall. He pointed out a few, such as Tenet, the new Christopher Nolan film, Wonder Woman and No Time to Die, which all had summer release dates pushed back as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hunt says that despite the lack of brand new content, it might not be a bad thing.
“I’ve always wanted to go when Cineplex will show classic movies. It’s a second chance to go see a great one in the theatre.”
WHAT ELSE IS OPEN?
There are currently three open Cineplex theatres in the Calgary area, with those being Sunridge, Crowfoot Crossing, and Seton.
All Landmark Cinemas locations in Calgary are open, as well as Airdrie and Brooks.
The Globe Cinema, located on 8th Ave SW, is now doing nightly double features.
The Plaza Theatre is open, and is showing one movie per day.
- By Sam Phelps