LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – San Diego County was the first southern California country to reopen its theaters before Labor Day Weekend as Hollywood hopes the Christopher Nolan blockbuster "Tenet" can help save a summer box office hit by the coronavirus pandemic Was brought to a standstill.

A billboard for "Tenet" on the Sunset Strip, Aug 19, 2020, in West Hollywood, California (Getty Images)

Regal Cinemas reopened several theaters in San Diego on Wednesday with early screenings of "Tenet," while AMC will reopen several more on Friday. AMC began reopening theaters nationwide in mid-August.

The reopening of the San Diego theater was made possible by California's new four-tier coronavirus scoring system, unveiled on August 28, that sets out the process by which any county can reopen businesses and schools.

The color-coded system ranges from yellow (minimal), orange (moderate), red (strong), and purple (widespread).

All of Southern California was placed under the purple designation, with the exception of San Diego, which was assigned red. The red designation allows San Diego to reopen its cinemas with a capacity of no more than 25% or 100 people, whichever is lower.

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theater Owners, told CBSLA on Wednesday morning that his organization had recommended voluntary protocols for its member theater chains to help ensure customers and employees feel safe.

One of these is to ensure that people who buy tickets before a screening are automatically socially distanced from other moviegoers.

"Our algorithms automatically block the seats in your group so you can sit with your family, but then there is automatic social distancing between you and the next group," said Fithian.

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Another security policy is that all customers and employees must wear masks at all times. In addition, employees are required to undergo temperature checks, although this is not required by customers.

"We believe, as we've seen in other parts of the world that have already opened the movie (Tenet), that when they see two things, viewers will return to theaters," Fithian said. “When they see good films, new films are advertised. Second, when they know and hear our security protocols. "

Los Angeles County is not planned to be downgraded from purple to red anytime soon. To be downgraded from the purple level, a county must have fewer than 7 new daily coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents and have a positivity rate of less than 8%. These values ​​must be maintained for 14 days.

Currently, L.A. County has 13.1 cases per 100,000, nearly double the threshold and a positivity rate of 5%.

The vast majority of California theaters have been closed since mid-March. Governor Gavin Newsom initially gave permission to resume production in California and reopen theaters on June 12, but at the discretion of each district.

L.A. County didn't give its theaters the green light to reopen at the time, but it didn't matter as the top of the coronavirus case forced Newsom to reverse course. On July 1, he ordered cinemas to close in several counties, including LA.

"Tenet", the release of which has been postponed several times, is the first large tent pole to be seen in US cinemas. Disney's "Mulan" should hit theaters in March. After several delays, Disney decided to pull the plug on a theatrical release and release the film on September 4th at a price of $ 30 on its streaming platform Disney Plus.


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