How Texas’ Reopened Movie Theaters Suggest a Post-Pandemic Future | Video

“We wanted to make it so that the moment you walked in to the moment you reached your seats, you didn’t have to touch anything,” Santikos CEO Tim Handren says

San Antonio-based Santikos Entertainment’s experience reopening three of its theaters in Texas last weekend could offer a glimpse at what moviegoing will look like in a COVID-19 world — and how willing customers are to return. Despite a lack of new movies, Santikos CEO Tim Handren said the chain managed to fill 60% of its roughly 4,500 available seats —  25% fewer than the maximum capacity for the three theaters in accord with Texas’ coronavirus reopening guidelines.

“We filled about 3,200 of those seats over two days and were able to bring almost 120 employees back to work. Did we make enough money to cover their costs? Yes. Were we able to cover all our operating costs? No,” said Handren, who also serves as mayor of the Texas town Boerne. “But the feedback we have received from our customers has been over-the-top positive. They felt safe, they didn’t have to touch anything and they were satisfied with our work to keep them safe.”

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Jeremy Fuster

Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com • Twitter: @jeremyfuster