Cineworld, owners of Regal Cinemas, and where we watch nearly all new wide release movies in our areas is now saying “all” their movie theaters will be reopened on/by July 10, 2020.
“We are thrilled to be back and encouraged by recent surveys that show that many people have missed going to the movie theater,” CEO Mooky Greidinger said in a statement. The company has deferred salaries for its directors, suspended quarterly dividend pazyments, and said last month that it was seeking $180 million from banks and government support programs to conserve cash and remain a viable business.
Have not received any update from Regal Cinemas as of this writing the status of the Regal Unlimited Pass. (see below) They haven’t billed since March, when around the middle of the month they closed all theaters.
UPDATE 6/16/20 8:47pm PT – Regal sent the following email:
It’s reasonable to assume when they reopen on July they’ll give that partial month free to those of us who paid for the entire month unlimited movies cut short in March 2020 and resume billing in August 2020 for all unlimited pass customers, but this is pure speculation on my part as nothing official has been announced on either their official website or via email to their customers (neither of us have received any email yet).
My speculation is exactly what Regal did for existing subscribers. Billing will resume in August 2020 for unlimited subscribers like us.
AMC has previously stated their plan was to start reopening in theaters in July, but I haven’t seen an official statement with a date attached to when. As linked above, Cineworld is giving specific dates (US – July 10) with some theaters opening in the last couple weeks of June outside the United States.
Will be glad to see theaters reopened in our area. Traffic is on the rise, restaurants and bars are reopening, casinos have already been open for a couple weeks, so bring on the movie theaters.
Will you be at your movie theater on opening day watching movies?
Assuming there are movies we want to see, yes, we’ll be there. I’m guessing they’ll reopen with access to movies that have been released to VOD, since there is only one new wide release movie scheduled on July 1. Mulan is scheduled to open wide on July 24. Warner Bros. delayed Tenet to July 31.
We’ll begin to see more movies start to fill in on/after July 10. The movie theaters need to get some of those summer $$$.
Depending on who’s taking them, how the poll is worded. Remember, the polls overwhelmingly declared Donald Trump had no chance winning against Hillary Clinton.
So, yeah, I’m a little jaded on polls. However, this EDO poll is a little more optimistic about moviegoers returning to theaters if they feel safe.
What’s key to note in the latest survey from EDO is that when respondents were polled initially, they were asked outright if they’d return to cinemas. Those responses drew a near split reaction between likely (40%) and unlikely (36%). However, with the implementation of their desired safety measures, the rate of respondents who said that they were likely to return increased significantly from 40% to 75%. Eighty percent of the EDO sample said the ability to RSVP seats also was a positive factor contributing to their decision to head back to the cinema.
Having hand sanitizer stations everywhere and plexiglass guards on the headrests doesn’t prevent someone with COVID-19 from sneezing outside a mask into the air and it being circled around inside the theater.
I’m onboard with checking temps, enforcing masks, putting up plexiglass guards (as long as they don’t obstruct viewing), selling to 50% capacity so every other chair or more enforce distancing — all of this sounds good, but I’m practical understanding that the risk is still there and no matter how much safety is employed some percentage of moviegoers will not return to movie theaters.
Some may never return.
Although not a guarantee, because my work and life schedule might prevent this, but as soon as I know Regal Cinemas are open in our area showing movies, I’ll be there, whatever safety measures they’ve put in place. Wife and I both will be there.
We love and miss the movie theater experience. We love that more than are afraid we’ll contract COVID-19 from another moviegoer. Neither of us want to get sick, but we have been working the entire time this pandemic happened. We’re interacting with people through work, some in close proximity, so we’ve been running the risk of getting sick all along.
My thinking is if I can get sick at work, using precautions, I might as well not change my entertainment lifestyle too much. Movie theaters, restaurants, concerts, casinos, yes, going to visit them all. Can’t just work and stay at home. That’s not living life. I’m getting out there and doing something.
Sure, it puts me at greater risk doing many of these things I enjoy, but living life fearing death is pointless. We’re all going to die sooner or later. Heck, we’re dying right now. There is an internal clock called aging that never loses. Why spend another day confined to your home when you can get outside and breathe in fresh air, head to the mountains or ocean or lake? Watch birds flying, climb a tree, hike a trail. Plenty of activities outside that don’t involve other people, if that’s your thing.
Once upon a time, people bought and listened to music on a physical format or listened to their favorite song on the radio and then went to the store and bought the album. That world was upended after one too many physical formats and the rise of the internet and Napster. Apple would intervene offering the concept of buying tracks for a buck a song and that pretty much killed off buying full albums. Now, consumers could carve up filler on albums and only buy their favorites.
(vinyl records are enjoying a passionate resurgence in interest, but no idea how long this will last — hopefully a long time!)
Yes, the businesses aren’t exact parallels in study, but check out this quote and apply it to studios and movie theaters.
“What I said out of the gate: It’s a mindset shift,” Bell says. “I was thinking to myself, this is a whole new world for us. Let’s reinvent what we need to do. Operationally we had to shift. We’re already going into an increasingly digital world,
I think the future of movie theaters not only will, but must involve a better sense of embracing technology than they have. There have been some little tech things like before the movies show Nuvee playing interactive games with theater patrons and Regal’s Moviebill experience where you get this interactive magazine with your phone to learn more about the movie and get some cool 3D swag.
That’s a start. More, please.
I’m a champion of using technology to enhance and improve business including marketing, customer experience and satisfaction. There’s more that theaters and studios can do, working together, instead of fighting over the — gasp! — a shortened theatrical window they should be exploring alternative options for how each side can benefit from a world with a shortened or — gasp again! — no window.
Will they do this in a post pandemic world? With no vaccine yet, we are going to have to continue to live in a current virus is out there world for many months, maybe years into the future. Businesses that embrace changes tend to stay healthy longer than those who don’t. I’m hoping movie theater owners will look at technology to help them, not see it as a threat.
The elephant in the world’s room at the moment is the coronavirus. The elephant in the theatrical world is the theatrical window.
Rather than delay indefinitely new movie releases, why not offer people in China the ability to stream movies at home (for a reasonable ticket price)?
I’ve been looking around for others suggesting this and it seems this idea is completely off the table. The more time that goes by that the theaters are closed, why can’t this be explored … at least temporarily?
Obviously, movies aren’t remotely important as protecting human lives, so our thoughts and prayers go out to anybody impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
We’re now going to see Hollywood getting hurt by China’s current theatrical shutdown, as the likes of Bad Boys For Life and Birds of Prey weren’t betting on a big Chinese payday. Even Dolittle was tracking for a $15 million debut when the coronavirus caused the theaters to shut down over what should have been a $1 billion-plus New Year’s weekend. Video game movies (Warcraft, Rampage, Ready Player One, etc.) have been big in China, and a continued blackout could be even more problematic for (much bigger-budgeted) Mulan and No Time to Die.
Collateral damage of a much lesser concern will be box office performance depending on the Chinese market where many theaters are currently shutdown, but there are other ways to release new movies — streaming — than on the big screen.
I don’t understand why streaming options won’t at least be considered, given if a lot more time goes on without a vaccine being available. Yes, I realize this movie industry protects the theatrical window from streaming for 90 days or so because they believe that once that is violated, the movie theater industry will crumble.
Streaming at Home vs. The Movie Theater Experience
I don’t think it’s quite that dramatic at this point for a few simple reasons:
Most people don’t have in-home theater quality TV and surround sound speaker setups
Most people don’t have a bunch of people to join them as they watch a movie on the big screen. There is a social element to watching movies in the theater that is difficult to view in a smaller room and/or alone
Popcorn. Sorry, microwave popcorn is not the same. Yes, you can emulate the movie theater popcorn setup affordably, but most people won’t and don’t have this available.
Date night outside the home. If you want to have date night at home, you can do that any night of the week, but it’s nice to leave home and do something fun with your spouse/significant other/friends away from your home.
Sure, all of these items except the last can be replicated with an in-home system and you don’t have to be Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos. On top of that, you can invite only those who don’t interrupt the movies at home. You can also pause the movies, eat whatever food you want and show movies whenever you want. There are many advantages to watching movies at home versus the theater, but I don’t think enough people have movie theater quality rooms in their homes.
Funny aside: 20 years ago we added a movie room to our home. I wired the walls with high quality sound in preparation for the ultimate surround sound system. For a few years we had the system and I watched movies in there, but it never really felt like the movie theater. I didn’t go the extra mile for the movie theater popcorn, but came about as close as possible 20 years ago to having this room of dreams. I’ve been a cutting edge tech guy in the past.
So, if you have someone like me who could have a room like this and doesn’t prioritize it over a movie theater, my guess is there are many lesser-tech folks who would rather just go out to, for no better reason than, go out.
Re-releasing the New Releases in Theaters
Maybe some of these movies can be re-released in theaters. Again, this is all a lesser concern to finding a cure and making sure human beings wherever they are in the world are protected from harm from this virus.
Informative Articles about Coronavirus
Admittedly, this is going outside the scope of this blog, but a wise person stays informed. I’ve collected some articles to learn more about coronavirus:
How the Coronavirus likely started with a bat [VOX.com]: “The story of the novel coronavirus is the story of HIV, of SARS, of Ebola, and even the measles. These are all diseases that have been introduced to humans — with deadly effects — via animals. And as humans encroach more and more into animal habitats, it’s believed these spillover events may only grow more common.”
Let’s hope that a vaccine is created soon and this outbreak is thoroughly contained. Regardless if it’s happening in America or abroad, viruses that infect any human being anywhere are a concern that we all should agree upon working together to contain and eliminate.
Movie theater owners that want to remain relevant should pay attention.
Dinner and a movie service? Yes. Alcohol? Yes. Comfy recliner seats? Yes. Top notch sound? Yes. Old school arcade games in the lobby?
Hope I don’t sound greedy, but think all will help attract adults to visit your theater more frequently.
Thirty-three percent of those who went to a theater three to five times in the past year spent four to seven hours streaming every week, with 30 percent of those who went to the theater six to eight times in the past year reported spending the same amount of time streaming. Out of those who’ve been to the theater more than nine times in the past year, 31 percent said they stream 15 or more hours per week, according to the study.
Just read this complaint about how “awful” it was watching a movie at the theater these days:
If you have not had to watch films under the same conditions that the general public does, you have no idea how awful an experience it is. We recently went to see “Dark Waters.” We had to buy reserved seats, but the movie theater was practically empty. Then the assault to our senses began with a series of surround sound commercials, followed by awful coming attractions, interspersed with more commercials.
Having seen every wide release movie in the theater for the last 6+ months, I know that reserved seating is a benefit and better for customers. I would rather be able to know where I can sit that nobody else is sitting before buying a ticket and entering the theater and being surprised by what seats are left.
As for previews/trailers before a movie starts? Look at the starting time for a movie and add 15 minutes. Make that your actual starting time for the movie and you’ll skip seeing most/all of the previews. In Regal cinemas, make it 20 minutes. You can tell in Regal Cinemas when the movie is about to start because the brief student film plays right before the movie starts.
Back to reserved seating, if you buy your ticket in advance … say stop by the theater earlier in the day and buy the ticket and reserve your spot, then you don’t have to worry about coming late and getting stuck with a bad seat.
Over 2.5 million movies seen by Regal Unlimited members in 6 months
In August 2019, Kara and I both signed up for Regal Unlimited passes enabling us to see any new 2D movie as many times as we wanted for essentially $22/month USD. I just received a 2019 recap for all the movies seen in 2019:
A total of 68 movies seen in theaters that were all rated and reviewed. According to the email I had $685 USD in “savings” by buying the unlimited plan vs. paying the per visit ticket price (around $12 average per movie).
68 x 12 = $816 $22 x 5 mos. = $110 = 816 – 110 = $708 (my numbers are close enough to theirs)
If you are going to watch 2 or more movies a month in theaters, the unlimited pass is well worth it.
Let’s face it, staying home is not what everybody needs or wants to do. Movies provide a social outlet to get out of the house and do something. We need to stay active in this world or we’re dying. Staying in the home bunker watching on your TV, no matter how elaborate, is not the same social experience. This isn’t “romanticizing” the theater experience as some like to label it.
This year we should watch 100+ movies in the theater. Figure a minimum average of 2 movies open wide every week, and assuming we see all, that’s 104+ movies (52 weeks x 2 = 104 movies).
Since many moviegoers are out there watching movies, must pass this curious little app along.
Downloaded from the Google Play store and tested it. Before you can get started in the app you have to send your email address and get a verification code– I’m assuming this is so they can occasionally harangue you to purchase more “peecoins” — it takes peecoins to use to view the times that you can leave a movie and go to the bathroom. Once registering the app you get 2 free peecoins to test it out on your movie of choice. The time it recommended seemed to be good. They must have people watching these movies looking for good places where not much is happening.
Neat service, good idea!
Update 11/23/2019 @ 3:30pm
After making this post, a comment made by Dan (see below) wanted to clarify that the emails are never used to sell you peecoins. See a copy of the verification email I received when signing up through the app. This verification code is required as part of the process, so yes, email is being used to sell you peecoins, at the very least indirectly. I don’t see any problem with this practice, but let’s call it what it is: an advertisement in email.
Check that out, the Star Wars promotion has begun at Regal Cinemas … and The Rise of Skywalker isn’t out for another two months. Will have much more to say about this film next month when we join the Disney+ channel. They have a lot of Star Wars content on that service, in addition to classic Disney movies.
Now onto the good stuff …
Here we are on another fine Wednesday, looking forward to what’s coming to the theaters starting tomorrow 10-24-2019. Yes, realize that technically these are released on October 25, but many theaters show films the day before, perhaps taking advantage of the 24-hour timezones(?).
Just makes Thursdays our Movie Theater day. Yay!
Black and Blue
A potentially intense “bad cops try to get the lone good cop” movie. From the trailer anyway, it doesn’t look like a very original plot, but might be fun. Seems like a lot of people trying to get to her body cam footage. Run!
Screen Gems will release this in 2,000 screens.
5/10 for anticipation.
On the heels of Jexi a few backs, now we’re getting a horror film with an app on the phone that tells you when you are going to die.
Glad to see a horror film coming, but the whole evil app on the phone thing seems a bit tired. Horror at this time of year is welcomed. STX will be releasing this in 2,600 locations.
4 / 10 for anticipation.
These two films are the primary two that are showing up at our cinemas as wide releases. It gets dicey whether or not we’ll have screenings in our area for what follows. If they are showing close enough at Regal Cinemas, anyway, we’ll see them.
The Current War: Director’s Cut
This movie was originally released in 2017 to lukewarm critic and audience reception. Now we’re getting the director’s cut. The trailer has me mildly intrigued. I’m interested in the conflict between Edison and Tesla over who had the better power source. Don’t know if that interest translates into a full-length movie, but will find out.
Trailer leaves me feeling a little curious. A woman named Uma is on this island? I went to Wikipedia to get the scoop on what it was about:
Uma awakens on an island called Paradise which takes young women and teaches them to be proper. Led by the Duchess, the island provides emotional healing for those in need of it. However, behind the fairy tale like exterior, the island hides something sinister that threatens Uma and the other islanders.
I’m finding the movie description more interesting than the trailer.
Girl on the Third Floor (horror)
Hmm, seems like a haunted house tale. I don’t see it playing anywhere locally until November 23 at an independent theater in Tacoma, despite it opening on October 25.
ANTICIPATION for Week of 10/17 MOVIES
How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 10-17-2019 movies?
Black and Blue – 5 /10
Countdown – 4/10
The Current War: Director’s Cut – 3/10
Paradise Hills – 2/10
Girl on the Third Floor – 1/10
Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?
Black and Blue and Countdown are wide screenings, so will have plenty of those. Looks also like The Current War: Director’s Cut has a few screenings nearby. Don’t see any screenings this week for the others locally yet.
Which of these movies, if any, are YOU most looking forward to seeing?
Last month we checked out our first Cinebarre in Las Vegas at Palace Station (note that we misspelled Cinebarre as Cinnebar) Casino, this month we saw the opening of Zombieland Double Tap⭐️⭐️⭐️ at the Cinebarre in Salem, Oregon. It was interesting to note and experience the difference between the two Cinebarre locations. We expected a very similar experience, but it was notably different in a few areas, which will be detailed below.
The layout of the Cinebarre was a little different. At Palace Station Casino lin Las Vegas you go up an escalator to enter the Cinebarre, At Salem, Oregon Cinebarre it is at street level, you first go to the box office to receive your ticket and then enter the Cinebarre where your ticket is ripped immediately. There is an old school arcade upstairs (pictured at the top of the photo). Nice to see throwback arcade games like Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros. represented. Also, was a cool-looking Avatar pinball machine that I wanted to play, but it was eating quarters. We told the manager and were promptly refunded, no questions asked.
The theater layout had long tables in front of the seats with a secondary aisle so the attendants could come down and service more conveniently. At Cinebarre Palace Station the table you eat on is an expanded arm rest table that is permanently at your side. Most Regal theaters you just have the arm rest that folds down and has room for a drink cup, but Cinebarre Palace Station has a mini table that can fit your dinner. At Cinebarre in Salem, Oregon there is a long table that is about a foot or so in front of the chairs. On that table is a button to press that turns red which summons the server to provide service as well as napkins, salt and pepper and ketchup..
Before the previews, it was kept way darker (too dark) in the theater and difficult to see at the Cinebarre in Salem, Oregon. I had to use the flashlight on my phone to illuminate the menu. The theater was about 60-70% full to watch Zombieland Double Tap on its very first showing. Many people were ordering concessions.
The ordering process is different. You are encouraged to write your order on a piece of paper at Cinnebar Salem, Oregon. At Cinnebar Palace Station in Las Vegas the attendant shows up, knows who you are, takes your order, processes in his portable credit card machine and you pay at the time of ordering. At Cinnebar Salem, Oregon you do not pay until late into the film. The attendant shows up and puts a traditional bill inside a folding holder and you are required to attempt to read the bill in almost pitch black environment during the feature presentation. I didn’t want to break my phone flashlight out to try and read the bill so I just used the illumination of the screen upside down so Kara could try to read,. Also, the attendant never applied our 10% concession credit for being Ultimate Unlimited members because he didn’t know who we were. Again, we didn’t want to disturb other patrons during the movie by pushing the red button and asking for help, so we ended up just paying the full price which was a little over $50 for both of us. This is about what we’d pay for dinner anywhere else, so the prices were reasonable.
No assigned seating at Cinebarre in Salem, Oregon. The dinner format was less formal at Cinebarre Salem, Oregon. We sat in the very back room, centered on the screen. This was a good seat to watch the movie. Comfortable, but not as comfortable as a recliner.
The menu was different. Cinnebar Salem, Oregon seemed to have a little less items available on the menu. In particular,ra was looking forward to eating another ice cream sandwich, but that wasn’t on the menu.. I had a hamburger (“Top Hat Burger” as it was called) and ordered it with bacon but the bacon did not come on it. The burger was cooked well and delicious, as well as the accompanying fries. Also, ordered and enjoyed the boneless wings coated with bourbon bbq sauce. Again, these were cooked well and tasted great. To drink I just had soda and Kara had water. She also had an order of potato skins. I didn’t try any of the potato skins but she said they were good.F
Summary of Experience and Comparison
I preferred the experience a little bit more at the Cinebar Las Vegas, particularly the ordering and payment process, however, it was more traditional restaurant style at Cinebarre Salem, Oregon. The food was good at both locations and comparatively priced to other restaurants. They didn’t serve the popcorn in the stainless bowl at Cineabarre in Salem, Oregon, instead it is in the traditional paper bucket. The butter had a slightly different taste that was not as good as most other theaters.
While I’d give Cinebarre Palace Station in Las Vegas an A- grade for experience, I’d rate the Cinebarre in Salem, Oregon a B, maybe even a B-. It was good but marred by the total darkness, and the fact that when you pay the bill it is distracting from watching the movie. At the Palace Station they did a better job making the dinner portion over and settled before the movie started.
Despite the differences between the two, both experiences were still overall positive and what mattered most — the quality of food — was very good, if practical and one is nearby, I’d recommend others check out a Cinnebarre near you. The list of Cinebarres from Regal is quite small as of this writing (only 8 locations across the US, most of which are on the west coast), so this might not be possible for most reading.
Next month I’m hoping we can visit one of the two Cinebarres located not too far from our home — either Issquah, WA or Mount Lake Terrace, WA. We are fortunate to be located near three of the eight Cinebarre location.
Thanks to the Regal Unlimited Plus plan that I signed up for on August 12, 2019 and Kara signed up for a week or so later, I’ve been able to see almost every movie that has come out since (and we’ve seen 60%+ together). Am keeping a running Regal Unlimited Movie List at Letterboxd as well.
Have actually seen 28 movies using the unlimited pass, because I watched Rambo: Last Blood twice. I am considering seeing Judy again as well and trying to get my wife to see, too, but she has a hangup seeing anything I’ve already seen.
The only movie in the current top 10 box office that neither of us have seen is WAR. It’s showing at one theater nearby, and plan to see it soon.
“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept, because there were no more worlds to conquer.” – Hans Gruber from Diehard
The only bummer thing so far about the Regal Unlimited plan is that there aren’t enough movies available to see. Once you’ve seen them all it is either go and see something another time, or just wait until the next Thursday or Friday for new movies to be released. This is typically a minimum of two new movies each week. This doesn’t line up with the total movies being released, but how many screenings are available in the Seattle/Tacoma area. I needed to attend an independent theater to see Judy on opening day.
Top 10 Now Playing In The Theaters Ranked and Reviewed * both of us watched
Note: we typically only recommend seeing movies that are ranked at least three stars or better. However, you should judge for yourself what you want to see, not use anybody else’s opinion. Reviews are subjective based on a wide variety of factors. In our case, our review criteria is based on how entertained we were. We go to movies to be entertained. That means that sometimes we will like movies that others don’t. In some cases, maybe even movies that are universally panned we found to be entertaining.
Used to go to drive-in movies occasionally as a kid and always thought they were a fun experience. You get to chill inside your car and watch movies on the big screen. Have not been to a drive-in theater in 40 years or so. It’s on the to-do list before they disappear forever.
There was a bit of a resurgence in the 90s to bring them back. In our state of Washington, only five drive-in theaters remain. According to Culture Trip, all five are worth visiting:
Today, there are only around 300 drive-in theaters left in America, but Washington State is still preserving its favorite drive-ins, complete with all of the nostalgic nuances of the Sandy-Danny door slam in Grease. Only five drive-ins remain in the state, but each is worth a visit.
The closest theater to us in Shelton. About an hour or so drive away. The Skyline drive-in is seasonal and only ran through the end of September, so that ship sailed. Looks like something we will have to wait until next year to do, but would be cool to try and squeeze in this season if possible.