Houston-area movie theater to open Friday but with changes

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- Although several nationwide movie theater chains said they would not be opening just yet in Texas, despite having the permission to do so, there is one cinema ready to welcome back customers.

Houston-based Star Cinema Grill said it will reopen its Baybrook location this Friday. The cinema appears to be among the first locally to do so, but they are likely not the only ones in the state.

EVO Entertainment, which has locations in Kyle, Texas, and Schertz, Texas, is offering limited in-venue services again as of Monday.

Santikos Entertainment, also in Texas, has opened at 25% capacity, the limit allowed for businesses to reopen under phase one of Gov. Greg Abbott's plan.

Phase one went into effect last Friday. Phase two is expected to happen around May 18.

For those ready to give going to the movies again a try, Star Cinema Grill says it has a number of measures in place for seating, sanitation and dining, including using individually-wrapped condiments and utensils that will be available for one-time use.

If you want drink refills, you'll have to request them through the app. Servers plan to show how that works when the initial order is taken.

No cash will be accepted. Only debit, credit and gift cards will be allowed for purchases.

You can view the Star Cinema Grill's full reopening plan here.

The base price for tickets at Star Cinema Grill is $4 and can be purchased through their free app. You won't be able to buy from the kiosk, box office or website at this time.

Abbott has said businesses that are permitted to reopen are not required to, and last Friday, many theaters chose not to.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Alamo Drafthouse, headquartered in Austin, posted on its Facebook page, its Texas theaters would not be part of the businesses opening yet.

"Opening safely is a very complex project that involves countless new procedures and equipment, all of which require extensive training. This is something we cannot and will not do casually or quickly," the company wrote.

It added when it is time to reopen, it will provide the safest experience for both staff and guests. "We can't wait to see you all again," it said.

AMC Theatres

The national chain doesn't plan to jump start things again until there are new releases, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
That means you may not be catching a flick there until summer, when "Inception" and "The Dark Knight" director Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" drops in July, followed by the live-action version of Disney's "Mulan," which is now slated for a July 24 release date.


It looks like mid-summer will be the target for Cinemark. On a liquidity strategy call April 15 with investors, CEO Mark Zoradi said Cinemark's mid-summer opening will be contingent upon health and safety regulations, as well as availability of studio content.

Like AMC, the first release scheduled is "Tenet," set for July 17.

"It is important to note that the theatrical exhibition's return to 'normalcy' may span multiple months, driven by staggered theatre openings due to government limits, reduced operating hours, lingering social distancing and a ramp up of consumer comfort with public gatherings," Cinemark told ABC13.

Other movie releases on the 2020 schedule include "Wonder Woman 1984," "The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It," "Black Widow," and the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, "No Time To Die."

Regal Cinemas

On reopening, Regal provided ABC13 with the following statement:

At this time, we have not made a decision when to reopen Regal theatres.

We are constantly following the information provided by authorities. In order to open our theatres, at first we will need to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. At the same time, we are working closely with our studio partners on when they will make their movies available.

We will continue to work with both authorities and the studios in order to host our audiences and show them the big blockbusters in a safe environment.

River Oaks Theatre

River Oaks Theatre, which is part of Landmark Theatres, has a message on its home page for the time being explaining it is constantly reevaluating the best way to move forward.

ABC13 has reached out to see if part of moving forward will mean opening this weekend.

Studio Movie Grill

If you miss going to Studio Movie Grill to enjoy a meal while you catch the latest blockbuster, you'll have to wait a little longer to enjoy the experience.

Studio Movie Grill posted on Facebook it's still working with the studios and its technology partners to make sure customers have a safe, socially-distanced experience.

"While it won't be May 1, we hope to be welcoming guests back soon," the company wrote.

Still, you can bring the Studio Movie Grill experience home to you.

Select locations started offering curbside takeout and GrubHub delivery at the beginning of April.


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