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Live Mic: Megaplex Theatres president talks coronavirus and movies

The Megaplex theatres in Utah were one of the last groups to close when social distancing first began. And like moviegoers across the state, they are looking forward to safely watching a film on the big screen.

SALT LAKE CITY — Movie theaters everywhere are shuttered now due to the global pandemic, but one day they will reopen. Movies will return. What will Cinema 2.0 in Utah look like then?

Blake Andersen, Megaplex Theatres president, joined Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to discuss going back to the movies after COVID-19 coronavirus has been vanquished.

New movies?

Andersen said the release of new movies has been postponed until the holiday season or early next year.

“We know what’s coming, we’re excited about it, but we just want to make sure the timing is right and it’s safe for everyone,” Andersen said.

“Will Hollywood’s work coincide with the reopening of theaters or will you find yourself having to be a little creative? Maybe you’re able to open your doors before the James Bond movie is released?” Lee asked.

Andersen said because Utah has done a good job so far of managing to deal with the virus, it’s very likely Megaplex Theatres will be one of the theater chains to reopen early.

“We’re working to bring back the movies that were out when we were forced to close about a month ago,” he said. “We know there’s a nice lineup [of new releases] in July.”

What would you see first?

Lee said if his favorite movie, Forrest Gump, was brought back, he would be the first in line.

Andersen said his public relations team is working on a poll that asks: What movie would you want to see first when theaters reopen?

“We all want to go back [to the movies]. I don’t know about you Lee, but I’d go back for anything right now. We just want to be back in the theaters laughing and enjoying what’s on the screen,” Andersen said.

Change is coming to a screen near you

“What kind of changes are you planning in accordance with medical guidelines to reopen the theaters?” Lee asked.

“There will obviously be social distancing measures. We’ll follow all state and government guidelines that are given, including masks, and where and how many people in the initial phases can even be in a theater.

“We were one of the last theaters to close, and we were following all of the rules. And at that point we were only allowed 50 people per auditorium,” Andersen said. “I would imagine you’re going to see those kind of social distancing measures.”

“Thanks to the Miller family, we’ve been able to keep all of our full-time hourly team members working,” he said.

The employees are sanitizing all the theaters, he said, and studying the procedures on how the theaters will operate once they are allowed to reopen.

Where can I get buttery movie popcorn?

Andersen said curbside concessions are still being offered to satisfy cinema-snack cravings.

“You can still get your favorite Megaplex treats at almost every location,” he said.

“How’s that going? Are folks enjoying that service you’re offering?” Lee said.

“Beyond my belief. It’s been wildly successful. We get requests from our guests, almost hundreds daily,” Andersen said.

Due to overwhelming demand, he said within a week all Megaplex theaters will be offering curbside service.

“Part of it is that we really like Megaplex popcorn and treats. And the other part that I’m so grateful for is our guests who are supporting us and our team members who are working through this time. That means the world to all of us, to our organization and the Miller family,” Andersen said.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.




Coronavirus resources

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirusis transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States