This week has seen two big news items in the theatrical exhibition space—AMC’s battle with Universal over PVOD titles and the gradual reopening of movie theaters in Texas. The second of those stories continues today with dine-in chain Star Cinema Grill’s announcement that it plans to open one of its theaters—the Baybrook Lifestyle Center location, in the Houston area—next Friday, May 8.
As with the Texas chains that have previously announced reopenings—Santikos Entertainment, EVO Entertainment, and ShowBiz Cinemas (the latter opening its Oklahoma locations as well)—Star Cinema Grill will be enacting increased sanitation and social distancing measures. They will limit their overall capacity to 25%, per Texas state regulation.
Baybrook’s week one programming will consist of a series of repertory titles—including the Harry Potter films, The Goonies, Beverly Hills Cop, The Wizard of Oz, and Mean Girls, as well as more recent films Wonder Woman and LEGO Batman—all priced at $4 per ticket.
The cinema will continue to offer dine-in service, with patrons being provided with single-use utensils, menus, and the like. No cash will be taken at the theater for either concessions or box office purchases; with Star Cinema Grill’s “kiosks, box office and website… unavailable for ticket purchasing” for the time being, all tickets much be purchased through the chain’s app. The app has been upgraded to allow dine-in patrons to request refills and order additional food mid-feature, as employees will not be taking additional orders in person after the start of the show.
All employees will have their temperatures taken before each shift and will be asked to fill in a questionnaire and sign a document to the effect that they were checked for illness and gave “true and accurate information” about the state of their health. There is no information in Star Cinema Grill’s opening guidelines related to recommended or required mask use by customers.
Said Star Cinema Grill’s vice president of operations John Walsh in a statement: “We take the responsibility of opening right now very seriously. We are following all measures put in place by state and local authorities and have gone above and beyond those in most cases. Our guests have been reaching out non-stop since Governor Abbott’s announcement last Monday, and they are ready to join us again at the movies. Our team members are just as excited to get back to work and we are taking every precaution to make sure they have a safe environment to return to.”
This is Star Cinema Grill’s second time in the news over the past week; on August 25, CMX Cinemas—which, last month, announced their intention to acquire Star Cinema Grill—filed for bankruptcy.
Boxoffice Pro will continue to keep its readers updated on theater reopenings as information is confirmed.
Edited 5/4 to provide additional information from Star Cinema Grill’s official statement.