Photo by Roland Lizarondo
Angelika Film Center at Carmel Mountain, like all cinemas, reopened Wednesday at full capacity under the new relaxed pandemic guidelines from the state. Here’s what to expect.
Cinemas have been open for months — but with pandemic restrictions on how many seats they could sell and with mask and social distancing requirements.
The restrictions have been difficult for cinemas on multiple levels. Often the social distancing requirements for seating meant that even though theaters could be at 50% capacity they were really only able to accommodate 30% based on how many empty seats had to be left open. Plus patrons were often upset about being instructed to wear a mask or to socially distance.
Now cinemas will no longer have to leave empty seats or row between filmgoers. But that doesn’t mean cinemas are actually full up yet.
“We have yet to be full,” said Natasha Mulholland, marketing manager for Angelika Film Center at Carmel Mountain and Reading Cinemas. “But we hope that people come back. I really feel a strong sense of positivity. I think people really do want to get out of the house and want to have that feeling of normality again. I think that our cinemas are a place for community and for families and people who love film, especially the Angelika. So I really have an overwhelming sense of joy and hope that we will bounce back.”
On Wednesday, the Angelika Film Center had morning screenings for the time time in a long while and the theater was busy but not full.
The June 15 announcement from the state has meant that cinemas can be at full capacity, there will no longer be any required social distancing in the cinema or lobby, and only non-vaccinated patrons will be asked to wear masks.
“So at this point, the what we have asked the public and we have signs saying that by entering the building and not wearing a mask, you attest test that you have been vaccinated in full. And if you have not been, we are requiring that you come in with a mask on and wear it in all common areas. This is up to the patron to be honest about. And we do really hope that people do the right thing,” Mulholland said.
The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) has created Cinema Week (June 22-27) as a promotional push to get people excited about going back to a theater to see a movie.
“So we’ll be doing movie trivia on our outdoor patio June 23 at 7 p.m. We have South Coast Winery coming from Temecula to do a wine tasting. The winemaker will be here Thursday the 24th, and on the 25th we have Second Chance Beer on the patio doing a beer tasting. So we want to encourage people to come back and enjoy the things that we have to offer here,” Mulholland said.
Both Angelika Film Center and Reading Cinemas like Grossmont and Clairemont Square will also be offering discounts with partnering businesses if you show your movie ticket.
The big Hollywood releases like “F9” and “Black Widow” (which had been scheduled for release last year) will now be opening in theaters and are generating the most ticket sales. But Mulholland hopes that people will also seek out smaller films like a pair of documentaries, one on Rita Moreno and one by Edgar Wright on The Sparks Brothers that open this Friday.
Angelika Film Center was also known for its great repertory program of showcasing older films. The cinema hopes to eventually return to that curated programming but for the moment it is focusing on the new films from its distribution partners, many of those films that have just been sitting on the shelf waiting for the pandemic restrictions to lift.
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Arts & Culture Reporter
I cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.
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