The movie theater situation in America is still in a weird, uncertain place – will they re-open in time for Tenet in July? – but around the world, things are changing. In the Netherlands, cinemas can re-open on June 1 – with a 30 person limit. Germany’s heavily populated North Rhine-Westphalia is planning to re-open movie theaters on May 30. In Iran, drive-in theaters – once banned – are making a comeback. And down in Australia, they’re also hoping for a July revival.
Dutch Cinemas Re-Open June 1
In the Netherlands, Dutch cinemas will be allowed to re-open on June 1 – with a catch. That catch: 30 attendees per venue, with social distancing of 1.5 meters between each moviegoer. Per Deadline, The Dutch Association of Cinema Operators released a statement saying they were happy about being able to re-open, but disappointed about the restrictions.
“As an industry, we have made a protocol ourselves based on 100 visitors,” said association director Gulian Nolthenius. “That is already about 25 percent of the room occupancy, thirty people is heavily under that. The question is whether film theaters and cinemas are interested in opening up [with those restrictions].”
And while that’s a valid complaint, it’s hard to argue with the logic. Heck, re-opening at all at this point seems risky, and precautions have to be put in place.
Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia Region Re-Opening Movie Theaters on May 30
Meanwhile, Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia region, which is the most populous state of Germany, will allow movie theaters to re-open on May 30. And yes, they, too, will have restrictions. Per Deadline, “Safety measures include a minimum distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) between patrons while entries and exits need to be carefully planned. Security staff will be present in order to prevent crowding in lobbies and break areas.” Elsewhere in Germany, Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein are both planning to reopen cinemas on May 18.
Iran Brings Back Drive-In Theaters
Drive-in movie theaters have been banned in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution for “allowing too much privacy for unmarried young couples.” But now, according to THR, drive-ins have returned. Well, at least one drive-in. A parking lot near Tehran’s Milad Tower has been converted to a drive-in for the time being, screening Exodus, a movie “produced by a firm affiliated with Iran’s hard-line Revolutionary Guard.”
“It was very fascinating, this is the first time this is happening, at least for people my age,” said drive-in attendee Behrouz Pournezam. “We are here mostly for the excitement to be honest, the movie itself didn’t matter that much. I didn’t care what movie it is or by whom or which genre.”
Australian Cinemas Hope to Re-Open in July
Finally, just like here in the U.S., Australian cinemas are holding out hope for July. July is when Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is supposed to open, and that’s the big movie many in the industry are hoping to use as a signal flare that theaters are opening again. According to Deadline, the National Association of Cinema Operators said: “The Association has developed an Australian industry standard for sanitization that it feels confident the industry can achieve… These will include staggered session times and spaced seating to meet social distancing requirements, contactless and cashless transactions wherever possible, investment in sanitization stations where appropriate and increased frequency of cleaning cinemas, staff wellness policies to ensure the wellbeing of staff and the promotion of the Government CoVidSafe app download amongst staff and customers.”
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