Florida cinemas reopening

Enzian, Aloma Cinema Grill lead the way in Orlando

Photo courtesy of Enzian Theater

From The Orlando Weekly, June 5, 2020

Though Florida cinemas outside Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties are allowed to reopen at 50-percent capacity today, most movie houses are choosing to wait. Leading the charge will be the Enzian Theater and Aloma Cinema Grill.

“In accordance with the Governor’s Phase Two reopening plans, we will open the cinema at 50-percent capacity next Friday,” Enzian said today in a press release. “Our comfortable seating you’ve all come to love will be physically distanced to ensure your safety.”

If Enzian sticks to its posted schedule, the 1957 classic 12 Angry Men will be its first big screening in nearly three months, though its Enzian on Demand series has been entertaining streaming audiences for the last several weeks. That series will continue next week. (The theater’s outdoor restaurant, Eden Bar, reopened three weeks ago.)

The Aloma Cinema Grill, which, like Enzian, can rearrange tables and chairs to reduce capacity, plans to reopen even sooner. The theater has not yet responded to our request for confirmation, but its outgoing phone message says the cinema will reopen on June 8. However, it will require patrons to make reservations in advance by calling its office at 407-671-4964.

Photo copyright Aloma Cinema Grill

Among chains, Cinemark appears to be the first to test the post-quarantine waters, as it has pegged June 19 for its tentative reopening. Regal and AMC have not released reopening dates yet, but Cineworld, the London-based owner of Regal, says they expect a July opening, according to The New York Post. Meanwhile, AMC has been blunt about its financial situation, saying they have “substantial doubt” about the company’s long-term survival.

Another challenge is content. With big studio releases coming to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic, cinemas are left without major new films. However, that could change next month if Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s Mulan stick to their opening dates of July 17 and July 24, respectively. Until then, cinemas that choose to reopen will likely screen older films or new, independent offerings, such as movies that played festivals in late 2019 and early 2020.

The fate of one of the most anticipated local events of the year, the opening of Alamo Drafthouse, remains unclear. Construction on the new theater at Vineland Pointe, south of SeaWorld, began a few months ago but appears to be stalled. (The company has not responded to requests for information.)

The only Florida cinemas not shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic have been drive-in theaters, such as the Ocala Drive-In and Lakeland’s Silver Moon Drive-In, which have seen a resurgence of popularity recently.

© 2020 Orlando Weekly / MeierMovies, LLC

Update: As of June 8, the Aloma Cinema Grill was not open. A post on its website says the theater now plans to open on June 12.