Tour of Bay Area Century Theatres shows what will be different when you go back to the movies

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Watching Netflix is great and all, but aren't you itching to go back to the movies? There are roughly 50 Cinemark theaters across the Bay Area that are preparing to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic and will look a bit different.

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ABC7 got a tour of Century Redwood City Downtown 20 and XD in Redwood City. Here's a list of what you can expect.

Will pre-paid mobile tickets be required now?


No, not required. But, certainly preferred.

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi says the company is encouraging contactless transactions.

"Most people walking in the door already have their ticket," he said. "You can scan it upon entering or you can also pay in person at the ticket counter with card or cash."

Any changes to concessions?


Yes, but don't worry you can still buy popcorn!

However, there won't be anymore grab and bag candy stations. Only packaged food and candy items will be available for purchase.

Also, no more self-serve beverage machines. You can still buy a beverage, but in California theaters a staff member will fill it and serve you directly over the counter.

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What is a movie bubble?


This is new slang for new seating arrangements.

"When you buy a ticket here, you automatically get separated... two seats in front of your group and behind your group... so you're really put into an environment where you all feel comfortable," said Zoradi.

For theaters that have reclining seats, two seats will be empty on either side of your group.

"Our biggest theatre has 400 seats... at 25% capacity, the maximum number of guests we can accommodate would be 100," said Zoradi. "But chances are it will be a little less than that because of how people situate themselves."

How will the experience look different?


At first glance, you'll notice green circle markers that remind people to social distance by standing 6 feet apart.

At second glance, you'll see plexiglass at every ticket counter and concession area.

At third glance, lots of sanitation and hand washing stations scattered on each floor and around each theatre. In addition to sanitation wipe stands that are around each individual theatre.

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What steps is Cinemark taking to be clean?


The short answer is - staff will be sanitizing.Sanitizing again and again.

According to Zoradi, every morning staff will be spraying disinfectant on every seat in each theatre. In between movie showings, staff will come and wipe down every seat used.

The company has also improved air filtration systems.

"Every morning we refresh all of the air throughout the whole building," said Zoradi. "Every auditorium has their own air conditioning units, so you're not sharing air from one to the other."

Plus, keep your eyes out for the "Chief Clean & Safety Monitor" - he/she will have a hat and badge!

"It's a Cinemark manager that is fully trained and specializes on making sure all common areas, bathrooms, concession stands... all stay sanitized and clean," Zoradi said.

What else will be new?


You can buy a single ticket - or buy a private watch party will your friends.

"So you can you rent an auditorium here... for $99 with 20 of your friends and it's your trusted group," said Zoradi. "People can come and feel very confident they're in that auditorium and it's only with their group."

Cinemark is one of 385 different companies involved with the CinemaSafe initiative. The program represents over 3,000 theater locations nationwide. The program's guidelines are set by epidemiologists to support a safe experience returning to movie theaters.


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