Cinemark to reopen theaters in San Francisco, Santa Clara without concession stands

The move marks the first return of the theater industry to those cities

Cinemark is taking the first steps to get the movie theater business in California back to normal by opening up locations in San Francisco and Santa Clara -- but without concession food.

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The nation’s third-largest theater chain was hit hard like every other theater exhibitor when the coronavirus pandemic forced shutdowns of indoor gatherings. Competitor Cineworld, which owns Regal theaters across the country, was impacted so hard that it closed almost all of its locations in the U.S. and U.K.

According to Deadline, Cinemark will help get the highly lucrative market of San Francisco back in action starting on Oct. 30. However, in order to comply with local restrictions, food will be neither sold nor consumed in the theater. Although the state has given the green light for theaters to reopen, the outlet reports that many are unwilling to do so, noting that a lack of concession sales would render the move not financially viable.

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Cinemark told the outlet that it would offer reduced “Welcome Back” pricing on concession food as soon as they’re allowed to.

Moviegoers exit a Cinemark Holdings Inc. movie theater in the Playa Vista neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. Cinemark is scheduled to release earnings on November 2. Photographer: Christopher Lee/Bloomberg via G

In addition, many theater chains are reluctant to get back in the swing of things as studios continue to push the release dates of major marketable tentpoles back to at least 2021. Many fear that there won't be any theaters open for fans willing to risk COVID-19 infection in big markets like New York City and Los Angeles, which still have restrictions.

There was a glimmer of hope earlier this month when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that theaters in the state, with the exception of New York City, can begin the reopening process.

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Deadline reports that Cinemark, which now has about 85% of its theaters in the U.S. open, will reopen with a slate of movies that includes new releases “Tenet,” “The Empty Man,” “Honest Thief,” “The War with Grandpa,” and “The New Mutants” as well as old favorites like “Goonies,” “Jurassic Park,” “Alita: Battle Angel,” “ V for Vendetta,” “Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

People enjoy a movie at the cinema that reopened following the ease of measures imposed by Colombian Government within the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Cali, Colombia, on October 2, 2020. (LUIS ROBAYO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Meanwhile, it’s celebrating Halloween with “Beetlejuice,” “Hocus Pocus,” “Monster’s Inc.” “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Halloween (2018),” “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Addams Family.”