BY BILLY SUTER
AFTER five months of closed doors, some of the country’s cinemas open again, with strict lockdown safety protocols, on Friday, August 28, when new releases will include Ava, My Spy, Tabaluga: The Little Dragon, Tenet and Fatima.
In Durban, Ster-Kinekor cinemas at Gateway and Musgrave will be opening, along with the Suncoast Cinecentre at Suncoast Casino and Nu Metro cinemas.
Nu Metro has confirmed that most of the company’s flagship cinema complexes in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Giyani (Limpopo) will reopen.
“Those cinemas not opening on August 28 will be reopened soon, and remain temporarily closed as part of Nu Metro’s responsible reopening strategy”, says a spokesman.
Nu Metro cinemas will initially only be open to the public on Fridays to Sundays (and public holidays), with limited show times per day and some films being screened over multiple screens with staggered time slots per complex.
Based on Level 2 lockdown regulations, the scheduling of films is planned in such a way to ensure adherence to the current 10pm curfew and to effectively support measures to enable social distancing, avoid over-crowding in foyers and limit capacities per cinema.
A spokesman for Ster-Kinekor said cinema reopening will be done in a phased approach to ensure that operationally employees have been trained on the new COVID-19 health and safety measures and all the PPE required is ready when trading. Ster-Kinekor will start trading with 32 cinemas on August 28, followed by the remaining 21 sites on September 18.
All cinemas will operate with new safety procedures that ensure compliance with directives set out by government. Each theatre will be permitted a maximum of 50 guests per auditorium (excluding staff).
Some of the new measures taken include regulated seating, marked foyer floors to manage social distancing as well as longer show staggers to manage the number of people in foyers at any one time.
“We will ensure stringent hygiene protocols are in place for the safety of our guests and staff. To limit contact, no transactions will take place in cinema and all movie tickets and snacks must be purchased through the Ster-Kinekor App or on our website. After the show guests will be required to exit the auditorium row-by-row, starting from the back of the cinema, and are requested to remove their empty snack containers to discard in the dustbins which will be placed in the cinema foyers.”
Masks and temperature screening will be compulsory when entering the cinema foyer. However, masks may be temporarily removed in the auditorium to enjoy the refreshments.
New films to look forward to from August 28:
Tenet – Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi adventure teaming John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki. Armed with only one word, Tenet, and fighting for the survival of the entire world, a protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
Ava – Starring Jessica Chastain, Common and John Malkovich, this action-drama centres on a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organisation, travelling the globe specialising in high-profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival. Directed by Tate Taylor.
My Spy – An action-comedy about a hardened CIA operative who finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family. Directed by Peter Segal, the film teams Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman and Parisa Fitz-Henley.
Tabaluga: The Little Dragon – Set in the fictional kingdom of Greenland, this German animated fantasy tells of a brave, 700-year-old, green dragon which, with the help of beautiful ice princess Lilli, finds his fire, discovers the power of love and saves the world from a tyrannical snowman and his army of polar bears. Featuring the voices of Cameron Ansel, Kristin Fairlie and Benedict Campbell, the film is directed by Sven Unterwald Jnr.
Fatima – A drama based on historical events, three young shepherds in Fátima, Portugal, report visions of the Virgin Mary, inspiring believers and angering officials of the Church and the government, who try to force them to recant their story. Directed by Marco Pontecorvo, the film teams Alba Baptista, Harvey Keitel and Goran Visnjic.