While a lot remains unknown, Celebration Cinema is trying to figure out the safest way for people to enjoy seeing new movies again

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Junior Sofia Johnson wouldn’t have considered going to the movie theatres as a part of her “normal routine,” but ever since COVID-19 hit, battling for the popcorn buttering machine with her friends was something Sofia wishes she could experience once more. 

“[I miss] going to see new movies and [being there when] the movie theatre is full,” Sofia explained. “Everyone is in their seats, you have your popcorn, you’re in your comfy chair, and it’s dark. My friends and I would sit in the chairs in the front and whisper to each other throughout the movie. It was always fun trying to stay quiet while laughing about jokes we were making during the movies.”

While all of those memories may be just that, Celebration Cinema has been doing its best job at getting everything opened again. While most locations are opened for public showings once more, a lot of people didn’t know about this new change.

The lack of advertisement might be a strategy to keep the number of people attending movies at a minimum, but from a business standpoint, this doesn’t make any sense—shouldn’t they be trying to let as many people know that they’re open again as possible?

“I don’t think they did [a great job of advertising that they were opened again],” Sofia said. “I didn’t know that they were open again. I’m on my phone a lot, and I didn’t see anything, but they must be getting to some people.”

When you go to the movies there’s a feeling you get when you’re around people, you’re eating popcorn, you can play video games; it’s a lot more fun.”

— Kiersten Moul

Along with Sofia, senior Jonah Cumings, an employee at the movie theatre, wasn’t notified that the infamous movie theatre was opening back up again. But Jonah, someone who should know the ins and outs of ticket selling and cleaning popcorn off the floor, takes a logical approach to the reason why Celebration Cinema wasn’t putting ads all over people’s Instagram feeds.

“I think they could have done better [at advertising],” Jonah said. “I understand that it can be difficult unless they’re pumping a bunch of money into commercials and putting stuff out there. It wouldn’t be very profitable because they aren’t getting much ticket sales regardless.”

Despite opening back up, not everything is available to the public, including the majority of the staff. Jonah and his coworkers are still technically employed but aren’t working any hours because Celebration Cinema is keeping their capacity as open as they can.

“I believe [Celebration Cinema] is doing outdoor movies and not doing concessions the way they normally do,” Jonah explained. “It definitely requires fewer people to keep that running. I do think it’s a good idea to keep [those jobs] available to those people that rely on that income as opposed to high school students like me.” 

While Jonah keeps a positive outlook on the place that he is sedentary in with his job, he doesn’t see any detriments being affiliated with Celebration Cinema. He isn’t looking for work right now, but it is comforting to have his job, which was available to him prior to quarantine, still open to him whenever they need him back. Jonah isn’t only happy about the fact that his job is still available to him but also that movies are now continuing to show. 

“I honestly loved the free movies [that I got from working at Celebration Cinema],” Jonah said. “I would bring in a bunch of friends, and I would get in free with a couple of guest passes—I watched each movie that came through there at least a couple of times.”

Just like Jonah, sophomore Kiersten Moul absolutely loves watching movies. Seeing anything that would come out was a regular part of her schedule, but like most things, COVID-19 took it away from everyone.

There’s so much to miss about the little things in life since people’s lives have been altered due to the pandemic, and Kiersten finds herself as being a victim of COVID-19’s grasp on our reality.

“I used to go to the theatres every Friday with [my] dad,” Kiersten explained. “Then around April, we stopped going because they didn’t let us in anymore. It really did suck that we couldn’t go anymore—when you go to the movies there’s a feeling you get when you’re around people, you’re eating popcorn, you can play video games; it’s a lot more fun.”

Kiersten and her dad haven’t been in months to see anything showing, but now that Celebration Cinema is offering seating, Kiersten can picture herself going in the near future. Because, from what she’s heard, Celebration Cinema is doing an excellent job at keeping their employees and customers safe, Kiersten feels safe.

“I would still go to the movies now,” Kiersten explained. “If people are spread out, still wearing their maks, and not eating, then I think it would be pretty safe. When [Celebration Cinema] starts allowing larger groups of people to go in at a time, it will be so much fun with a large group of friends. I’m not too worried about going back.”