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LAKEWOOD – After nearly a year closed to the general public, Lakewood Cinema 8 opened with some safety changes on Friday night.
“There is a three-seat buffer in between, so once you pick your seat, and when your sale is done, there will be three seats automatically in between you, that will be blocked out, so no one can sit there,” explained Bryan Spokane, Vice President of Dipson Theaters.
He says the theater has also launched cashless concessions, so patrons can purchase popcorn and drinks online at lakewood.dipsontheatres.com.
“It’s like a check-in app, so when you pull in here just hit check-in and we automatically get a print out behind our concession stand and we will have your concession ready to go,” said Spokane.
Moviegoers are encouraged to make purchases online, as the theater’s box office is closed for now in order to better accommodate social distancing. Tickets can still be purchased at a station inside the theater’s lobby area.
“You will have to wear your mask at all times, unless you are seated in your seat, drinking or eating popcorn,” furthered Spokane. “Other than that, the mask must be kept on.”
Under state regulations this weekend, the theater’s capacity is limited to 25 percent, however starting Monday capacity increases to 33 percent.
“Every little bit helps,” said Spokane. “We need it to get up to at least 50 percent to make things work, because even with us playing a movie like ‘Demon Slayer’ this weekend, we are going to have a bunch of sold out shows, where we have plenty of seats that are still available.”
The Cinema was previously eyeing reopening last fall, but decided against it due to New York regulations prohibiting the sale of concessions.
“Popcorn and soda are a big item for us,” said Spokane. “The tickets, a big majority of that money goes right to the film companies, without selling the popcorn and soda there would not be any movie theaters.”
As time went on, and restrictions were lifted, theater management was able to comfortably get back to business.
“We are just happy to move forward,” said Spokane. “This are positive, things are moving up, with the vaccine numbers going up, things are moving in the right direction.”
Spokane isn’t the only one who is pleased to get back to the movies, after more than a year of being stuck inside with the kids Jamestown couple Amanda Johnstone and Neal Cox are happy to be back on a date.
“I never get to do anything, because everything is closed,” said Johnstone. “It is nice to finally be able to come and do something for once.”
In review of the safety procedures in place, Johnstone gives it a 10 out of 10.
“Everything is going smoothly,” explained Johnstone. “There isn’t a lot of people here, you come a little early, you get your stuff early, you can even do it all online and have it ready for you.”
As for what’s showing, Spokane says there are a few big flicks that will premiere soon.
“Slowly, some movies are being released,” said Spokane. “We have ‘A Quiet Place II’ on May 28, that’s going to hold, and ‘Cruella’ is playing on May 28 as well, so we have a couple of good pictures coming up.”
He feels there will be good demand for some of the upcoming films, like ‘A Quiet Place’ in particular, which was shot in Western New York.
“That was ready to open right before we were closed down for the first time, back in March 2020, so we were ready to open up that picture in April, and so a little bit over a year later we are finally able to get that opportunity,” furthered Spokane.
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