Wildhorse movie theater in Steamboat plans to reopen by end of month | SteamboatToday.com

Wildhorse movie theater in Steamboat plans to reopen by end of month

The movie scene in Steamboat Springs will see a few changes in the next few months as Carmike Cinemas will shut the doors to the Chief Plaza Theater in downtown Steamboat and Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas plans to make a few improvements.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Those who enjoy watching motion pictures on the big screen will celebrate Thursday’s announcement that Wildhorse Stadium Cinemas will be among five theaters to open by the end of August.

“We’re thrilled to be able to open up our theaters again and just welcome everybody back,” said Natalie Eig, vice president of marketing and communications for Metropolitan Theatres Corp., which owns the Steamboat theater.

Like many other businesses, the theater closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eig said guests will be able to take in several new releases when the doors at Wildhorse reopen Aug. 28, including the thriller “Unhinged,” featuring Russell Crowe, and “The New Mutants,” a film based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name that is being distributed by 20th Century Studios.

“New product is obviously the most important thing when you open up a theater,” Eig said. “We are so excited to be able to welcome our guests back to see a new film on our screens.”

In addition to being able to offer the latest films, Eig said the safety and comfort level of guests and employees were key factors to reopening following the closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to welcome our guests back to the movies. We have missed the daily contact with them, but have been busy formulating reopening plans with enhanced safety procedures, so we may open responsibly,” David Corwin, president of Metropolitan Theatres, said in a news release. “Our guests’ health and safety remain our top priority, and we appreciate their trust and confidence in us as we reopen our theaters.”

Eig said the theaters will follow a number of new safety initiatives, including new sanitizing measures, wearing masks — customers will be able to remove masks to enjoy popcorn and soda when they are in their seats — and required social distancing both in the lobby, public areas and the actual theaters.

To improve safety, guests are encouraged to use contactless methods to purchase tickets offered through the website or by using the new Metropolitan Theatres app. Ticket barcodes will be scanned at the theater. Barriers have also been installed at the box office and concessions stand, with decals promoting social distancing to be placed in high traffic areas to ensure six-feet between guests.

Capacity in auditoriums will be reduced, with three empty seats required between parties — equivalent to six-feet separation — and every other row remaining empty. High-contact surfaces will be disinfected frequently, including restrooms, railings, counters, podiums and kiosks. The box office will be sanitized after every transaction and seats in the auditoriums will be disinfected between every show. Drinking fountains and arcade games will remain closed.

Employees will be screened when they arrive at work and will be required to wash their hands throughout their shift. Employees who are not feeling well, as well as guests, are asked to stay home.

Only one out of the 16 theaters owned by the Metropolitan Theatres is currently open. On Thursday, the company rolled out a plan to open the MetroLux 14 theatres at Centerra in Loveland on Aug. 20. The Isis Theatre in Aspen, Redstone Cinemas in Park City and Big Wood Cinemas in Hailey, Idaho, are also slated to open Aug. 28.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.

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