Life as we know it is no longer what it used to be. At least given the current situation (read: Covid-19) that changed the way we live our life. The same can be said about going to the movies at the cinemas. Following over three months of temporary closure, we are finally able to enjoy a movie outing since the cinemas’ reopening on July 1st. Of course, certain rules apply and here are the 8 Things That Have Changed Our Moviegoing Experience In The Cinema.
1) Uncertain Release Dates
Let’s face it, our local cinemas make the most moolah mainly from high-profile Hollywood blockbusters. But thanks to the ever-increasing Covid-19 spike in the US itself, some of the upcoming Hollywood tentpoles like “Tenet” and “Mulan” got their release dates reshuffled. Given our cinemas’ reopening on July 1st, it’s safe to say that majority of the local audience are looking forward to watching the two aforementioned films this month. But both “Tenet” and “Mulan”, which are supposed to make their debut in July, have since been postponed to August instead. And if that’s not enough, there have been talks that — at the time of writing — both movies might get pushed even further to September (!).
2) Have To Settle With Reruns… For The Time Being
Sure, we still have new films like “Low Season” (Thailand), “The Bridge Curse” (Taiwan) and “Kaiji: Final Game” (Japan) currently included in July’s showtimes. And of course, the much-anticipated “Peninsula” a.k.a. “Train To Busan 2: Peninsula”, which is scheduled for the July 16th release date. But we have to admit that the choices of new films are considerably lesser for this month alone since the reopening. Which explains the reason our local cinemas chose to slot in reruns like “Jumanji: The Next Level”, “The Invisible Man” and “Joker” — all at the fraction of a price to entice moviegoers.
3) Only Certain Age Limits Are Permitted
Those good old days where parents with babies and elderly folks enjoy their time in the cinemas? Well, the current Ministry of Health (MOH) guidelines stated that “guests aged 12 & below and above 60 are not permitted into the cinema”. At least for the time being, that is. This might be considered a blessing, particularly for those who can’t stand babies crying or kids making noise during screenings.
4) Sitting Far Apart From Each Other
Whether we like it or not, social distancing has become a norm these days. The 1-metre distance, as per the guidelines, applies to cinema seatings as well. That means those who come in pairs can’t sit close to each other. Definitely not good news for couples who like to cuddle while watching a movie in the cinema. But those who are used to going to the cinema alone? Not a problem.
5) Wearing Masks In The Cinema Hall
Just like how you are encouraged to wear a mask in public areas, the same rule also applies in the cinema hall. Yes, we know that covering half of your face with a mask can be a nuisance (not to mention difficult to breathe if worn for long hours). But safety and precaution remain the top priorities here. Which means as for now, we have to get used to wearing a mask while watching a movie in the cinema.
6) Fewer Showtimes
If you are a regular moviegoer, you will definitely come across certain films that are granted more showtimes than the rest. This is especially true for popular and highly-in-demand films. But given the fact that the cinemas need more downtime for cleaners to clean and sanitise the halls before the next showing, there will be fewer showtimes in a day.
7) Full-House Cinema? Not Happening!
Gone are the days — at least for the time being — where cinema halls are packed to the brim. This is particularly evident for highly-popular films (e.g. last year’s “Avengers: Endgame”). But since we need to adhere to social distancing, our government has imposed a new rule that a cinema can only occupy up to 250 people max. So, that means it will be a common sight to see a cinema hall with many empty seats all around.
8) Check-In Before Entering The Cinema
No, we don’t mean by checking in your whereabouts on Facebook. But rather check-in using the MySejahtera app (see below). The app, which can be downloaded for free, is required “for contact tracing purposes”.