Cinema fans and casual moviegoers around the world have been left for weeks to settle for watching movies from home, as theaters have closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For over two months in West Plains, Glass Sword Cinema owner Gary York has kept his own theater doors closed to the public, but this weekend, that is about to change, as York says will be resuming showings. But it won't be quite business as usual.
“We are only opening at half-capacity and for the weekends,” York explains. “Every other row of seats will be closed to allow spacing between people.”
According to York, this will be a trial run to see how things go, and if the limited opening can hold the theater over until new release movies are available -- at the earliest, that could be in July.
“We’ll be showing four movies this weekend: ‘Trolls: World Tour,’ ‘I Still Believe,’ ‘Grease’ and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,’" he says.
The most recent of the four films and being shown on two screens is “Trolls: World Tour,” sequel to the 2016 computer-animated musical comedy “Trolls.” It was originally scheduled to hit movie theaters April 10, before being released to streaming and video-on-demand online services because of cinema shutdowns.
The second most recently-released movie is the Christian musical romantic drama “I Still Believe,” released March 13. It is based on the life of contemporary Christian music singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp and his first wife Melissa Lynn Henning-Camp, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer shortly before they married.
The Glass Sword will also show two classic films the 1978 musical romantic comedy “Grease,” starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, and the 1981 action-adventure film “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” starring Harrison Ford and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Ticket admissions will be at the regular cost and showtimes will be 7 p.m. Friday, and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Concessions will also be available for purchase.
“If this goes well, we will look at showing other movies, too, until we are able to get new releases and fully open,” says York, adding that safety precautions will be taken to help ensure the safety of his customers and employees, and he hopes people will understand why he is limiting seating at this time.
Last month, in order to bring in some revenue, York began selling movie theater concessions on weekend evenings for curbside pickup.
“The turnout and support from the community was unbelievable,” he said of the first weekend of doing curbside concession sales. The event raised $1,350 in sales the first weekend and $1,575 the second.
“I think 75% of what we sold was popcorn,” York said at the time. “A lot people seemed to miss having movie theater popcorn.”
For more information, call 256-8686 or visit the Facebook page @GlassSword.