At least a half-dozen movie theaters on Long Island plan to reopen Friday as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lifts restrictions on cinemas outside New York City.
Showcase Cinemas will reopen its Cinema de Lux locations in Holtsville, Hicksville and Farmingdale. Regal, in an about-face from its recent announcement that its U.S. locations would remain closed all year, will reopen its venues in Deer Park, Lynbrook and Westbury.
Over the weekend, Cuomo gave the green light for cinemas to reopen in some counties in New York state, including Nassau and Suffolk. Movie theaters have been some of the last businesses allowed to reopen since closing their doors in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With most of Hollywood’s new releases delayed until next year, the Showcase locations will be playing a mix of first-run and older films. Titles include the new horror film "The Empty Man," scheduled for release Friday; the Liam Neeson crime drama "Honest Thief" and the Robert De Niro comedy "The War With Grandpa," which were released earlier this month; Christopher Nolan’s "Tenet," from September; and two films from August, the Russell Crowe thriller "Unhinged" and the superhero-horror film "The New Mutants." Showcase theaters will also be playing Halloween-themed classics and other past favorites.
Regal did not announce which films it would begin playing, but in a statement the company said that it is "hopeful the studios will re-schedule some of the movies which they put on hold, to be released in November and December 2020."
Theaters will be restricted to 25% capacity, with no more than 50 people per screen, according to the rules set down by the governor’s office.
The reopened theaters might be good news for Long Islanders, but they might not vastly improve the fortunes of the struggling movie industry. Theaters are still not allowed to reopen in New York City, one of the most important movie markets in the world, which is one reason Hollywood has postponed most of its titles. At the moment, one of the year’s only major films still scheduled for release is "Wonder Woman 1984," which arrives Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, Showcase Cinemas will also be offering private screenings for family and friends. For $99, customers can book their own auditorium for up to 20 guests and choose from a catalog of its "Bring Backs" films to screen, including Halloween classics. For $199, customers can book their own auditorium for new films such as "Tenet," "The Empty Man," "Honest Thief," "The War With Grandpa" and "Unhinged."