POWAY, Calif. — The smell of movie popcorn is back. It’s showtime at movie theaters across the nation. On Friday, AMC opened 98% of its theaters nationwide and all of its theaters in San Diego County with sold out shows.
Most movie theaters have been closed for a year and it was unknown if they could survive the pandemic. AMC Dine-In Poway 10 briefly reopened last year, but had to close again in October.
Under the state’s safe reopening plans there’s a 25 percent capacity limit inside the auditorium. Each party is six feet apart which is about every three seats which is leading to sold out showtimes.
“Unfortunately, we couldn't get any tickets online, but I thought I would bring them (kids) here and try but they are sold out,” said Sal Groppo, father.
AMC has hand sanitizer and wipes are at the ready, plus there are new air filtration systems and cleaning in between showings.
“It was me and another lady and that's it. So total social distancing,” said Sandy Munger, moviegoer.
Masks are required except while eating or drinking.
“I'm so used to wearing my mask for everything, but not while I ate my popcorn,” said Munger.
Not all concessions are open in certain jurisdictions, but are allowed in San Diego County.
Even as Hollywood competes with streaming services, Munger says she was not going to watch Oscar nominee Nomadland at home.
“My daughter said I could watch it for free on Hulu and I said, ‘Debbie it's all about the popcorn and the big screen, hello!’” said Munger.
Since seating is limited moviergoers are encouraged to purchase their tickets online.