Movie theaters in the country are finally reopening. Here’s a guide on what you can expect and the movies you can watch on your return to the cinema.
When COVID-19 first hit and spread around the world early in 2020, a lot of close contact and concentrated activities and events were deemed dangerous and consequently canceled. Entertainment as an industry took a big hit, but movie theaters were one of the sectors that really bore the brunt of this necessary shift. Cinemas in the Philippines were closed for more than a year and a half as people flocked to online streaming services to get their movie fix. But as more people get vaccinated, the country is slowly starting to ease and open up once more.
When the government announced that NCR and other areas were being downgraded to Alert Level 3 then 2, a lot of activities initially deemed unsafe were now allowed again. And after a long wait, cinemas are finally given the go-signal to operate once again starting on November 10. But before you head off to your next movie theater and experience again the feeling of being in the cinema, do note that there will be a lot of changes implemented to make the cinema experience safe for everyone. Here is what you need to know about going back to the movie theater.
NEW HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Like with many activities done in a COVID-19 world, new rules and health protocols will now be in place at cinemas. First, you are required to wear your face mask and shield at all times when in the cinema. Social distancing will be implemented in theaters with only a 30% seating capacity. Even if you are going with a friend or family, you are all required to sit separately from one another.
You will also no longer be allowed to eat snacks during the screening. So, you can eat your snacks either before or after the movie. Body temperature will be taken before entering the cinema and you need to present your vaccination card upon entry. Movie theater operators are also encouraging people to do contact-less ticket purchasing and buy their tickets online instead of in person. Hand sanitizers will be available at every entrance and every cinema will get a deep cleaning after every screening.
WHICH CINEMAS ARE OPEN?
Quite a few cinemas have announced that they will begin operations starting November 10. Those include Bonifacio High Street, Fisher Box Office Fisher Mall, Vista Cinemas, Newport Cinemas, Gateway and Ali Mall Cineplex, Power Plant Mall, Santolan Town Plaza, Century City Mall, Ayala Circuit, Cinerama, Ayala Cloverleaf, Eastwood Mall, Fairview Terraces, Fisher Mall, Glorietta 4, Greenhills, Lucky Chinatown, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Market! Market!, Trinoma, Venice, Vista Las Pinas, Evia Lifestyle Theater, Starmall EDSA, Starmall Taguig, Starmall Alabang, and One Mall. Others, like Shangrila’s Red Carpet cinemas and Cinema 76, will open on November 17. Major chains like Robinsons Movie World and SM Cinemas have begun reopening some of their cinemas and will go through a gradual rollout.
If you’re looking to rent out your own theater for your private screenings, SM Cinemas is offering their Director’s Club theaters for rent. Prices start as low as 5,2000 pesos.
WHAT MOVIES TO WATCH
Some of the biggest movies of 2021 are finally coming to Philippine theaters. On November 10, the first new movies you can watch are Dune, and A Quiet Place Part II. On November 17, Don’t Breathe 2, Spencer, and Black Widow will be out. Starting November 24, you can catch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings or James Wan’s latest horror film, Malignant. Starting on November 26, Gateway Cineplex 10 will be hosting QC Cinema. International films like Lamb and short films like How to Die Young in Manila will be screened during the festival. Some of QC Cinema’s programming will also be available to view on KTX. Meanwhile, you can watch BLACKPINK: THE MOVIE exclusively in SM Cinemas starting November 27.
December will also be filled with some heavy-hitters as well. On December 1, catch Eternals and Venom 2: Let there Be Carnage in cinemas. Select cinemas around the country will be screening Eternals early on November 29 and 30. December 8 will see the release of Disney’s latest animated film Encanto. On December 15, the Resident Evil movie reboot, Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City, and the latest James Bond flick No Time To Die will be released in local cinemas. MMFF is returning to cinemas this year as the 2021 edition is set to play in cinemas from December 25 to the first week of January. According to the event’s organizers, over 19 films were submitted for the festival with the 8 official finalists to be announced in the next few weeks.
Spider-Man: No Way Home, arguably one of the most anticipated releases of the year, is (controversially) arriving in Philippines cinemas on January 8, 2022. The third official Ghostbusters movie, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, has a local release date of January 26, 2022. Comic book movie Morbius is coming on February 9, 2022, while Uncharted, the movie adaptation of the video game, is coming on February 23, 2022.
HAVE FUN, BUT BE SAFE
For those who missed the whole experience of enjoying a movie in a cinema, this is much-welcome news. But while you may be excited, you should also stay safe. Don’t forget that we are still in a pandemic and in fact, the country recorded a new variant just recently. If you decide to head to the cinemas, always practice proper health and safety protocols and don’t let your guard down. Lastly, remember that you need to be vaccinated in order for you to enter the movie house. See you at the cinemas.
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