Lubbock residents trickle back in to movie theaters: how things have changed

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — Premiere Cinemas in Lubbock has marked one month of being open again since shutting down for business due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Managers said that the theater is only seeing about 14 percent of its regular summer customers, but it’s actually doing better than they expected during the pandemic.

“[Our numbers have] dropped dramatically, but we’re still excited to see anybody come in and watch a movie,” said Joe Dennett, senior associate director of Premiere Cinemas Lubbock.

The summer season is any movie theater’s busiest time of year, and on average, the theater would see about 2,000 to 3,000 customers per day. Since reopening in June, Dennett said that the theater has seen a little under 400 per day.

“Usually around this time, we’re extremely busy. We won’t have any time to think or breathe,” Dennett said.

Now, they’re offering popcorn and margaritas to go to keep business afloat. However, for the people who choose to come back, the full movie experience looks very different. Customers are required to wear face masks at all times until getting to their seats, and they must have at least two to three seats in between them and other movie goers.

“We’re still practicing social distancing in the auditorium. Our capacity is cut to a little less than half,” Dennett said

Adding to that, the theater is no longer offering free refills, and employees are wiping down surfaces constantly and cleaning each theater seat in between showings.

“Pretty much anything and everything that you can see and touch, we have employees there wiping it down immediately,” Dennett said.

In lieu of the typical summer blockbusters currently on hold from studios, the theater is playing classic films, like “Jaws,” “Ghostbusters” and “Back the Future,” starting next week.

“People are excited to watch movies even if you play the classics or old movies,” Dennett said.

No date has been set for the reopening of Cinemark’s Lubbock theater locations, and as of yet, Alamo Drafthouse has no date set to re-open.

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