No popcorn, no problem: For moviegoers, the show goes on

Sep 12, 2020

After lying dormant for months, Dartmouth’s cinema has reopened its doors — and film buffs are back despite strict new rules banning snacks including popcorn and soda.

Due to the new safety requirements, only 25 people (or 40% of capacity) are allowed in each theater, and masks must be worn at all times.

The movie selection is also limited. A large number of movies slated for release this summer — including Disney’s “Mulan” and a new sequel to cult classic “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” — bypassed cinemas and instead went straight to digital streaming, so only five films are currently showing.

But despite the differences, said AMC Dartmouth manager David Paz, “People are excited to be back.”

The cinema opened its doors in late August to a leaner schedule. Paz said that with 11 screens and five films, there are multiple showtimes — so even though theaters are selling out, he noted, “there’s plenty of tickets available.”

He added that so far, “everybody’s on board” with all of the new safety guidelines, and if guests aren’t wearing proper protection, masks are available to purchase. “We have very safe procedures,” he said. 

This week the cinema is also showing the original Black Panther in honor of lead actor Chadwick Boseman, who died on Aug. 28.

Friends Amari Adorno and Avah Alves, both 12, came with family members on Sept. 11 to watch the superhero movie on the big screen for their first trip to the cinema since the pandemic started.

The pair said they were excited to get out of the house.

Also excited to get out and about were John Cardoza and Dean Cuba of New Bedford, who came to see Tenet.

“We come all the time,” said Cuba. “It’s wicked good.”

Cuba said that although he missed popcorn, he and Cardoza had a pizza before the film.

“We definitely feel safe,” he added. “Right now, you can’t really see anything...there’s nothing to do, nowhere to go. So it’s good that we can come here.”

Paz said that until guidelines change, snacks will not be on offer. 

And although the cinema usually gets a large part of its revenue from snack sales, he noted, “Everything’s going pretty good.”

“We’re glad we’re open, and we’re glad people are complying with the policies,” he added. “And they’re happy to be back at the movies!”