BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Friday marks the first day Bakersfield residents can return to the big screen as the first movie theater, Studio Movie Grill, reopens for service.
The theater is the first to open in Bakersfield, following the announcement the state was lifting the restriction on movie theaters on June 12. Taft and Ridgecrest had theaters reopen last week following the announcement.
As SMG prepares to serve moviegoers again, the theater must still face the consequences that the coronavirus has left businesses in. While theaters reopen, the movie industry is still reeling, with a number of upcoming movies forced to halt or postpone production.
In order to get a jumpstart on reopening, SMG is playing some discounted films as well as bringing back some classics to entertain guests. For the first night of reopening, the theater is offering the new horror film "The Wretched" for $5 and a free screening of "Just Mercy", starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan.
The theater is also showcasing $5 screenings of classics like "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", "Harry Potter", "The Lord of The Rings" and "Space Jam".
Theater service will look a bit different as well as theaters are only allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity according to state guidelines.
Teejay Scharf, the general manager at Studio Movie Grill, said guests are encouraged to purchase their tickets online or if they come in, they can purchase tickets and food at kiosks. While purchasing tickets, the kiosks will automatically distance moviegoers two seats apart -- complying with social distancing.
Other operations will remain the same including full bar service for those 21 years and older.
Guidelines like these can be expected as theaters continue to reopen.
According to their websites, Reading Cinemas Valley Plaza, AMC Bakersfield 6 and Regal Edwards Cinemas plan to reopen in mid-July.