COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Southern Colorado movie fans are able to see the stars on the big screen again this weekend. Four local theaters reopened in Colorado Springs and Pueblo; the AMC Chapel Hills 13, Cinemark Carefree Circle and IMAX, the Cinemark Tinseltown USA and XD, and Cinemark Tinseltown Pueblo.
The theaters in Colorado Springs closed the day after Thanksgiving, and in Pueblo a week before, when two counties moved to level red restrictions on the state's COVID dial. They've been able to reopen since Monday when Governor Polis and the State Health Department lowered the dial to level orange.
Matthew Cosseler, who was headed to see News of the World with his family at the AMC, explained the attraction in two words.
"It's big," he said.
Randy and Peggy Hawke were headed to see the matinee screening of Wonder Woman 1984 at the Carefree Cinemark for that same reason.
"We miss seeing it on the big screen," she said. "Watching it at home, watching a 70" TV just doesn't do it justice."
The Hawke's are big movie-buffs, typically visiting theaters once a week.
"It's been great, especially when you're retired," Randy said.
Kelly Edmondson and her sons were headed to see The Croods: A New Age.
"These boys are out of school until Monday, and so, we saw that theaters were open we decided we'd try and do something, get out of the house," she said.
The theater companies want customers to know their businesses are clean and safe. Auditoriums are cleaned and disinfected between showings. Showtimes are staggered to prevent crowds from forming when customers are leaving, and ticket booking software limits the number of seats per showing to ensure a safe physical distance.
"When you go online to buy the tickets, you can see that they've blocked out certain spots to that you're not sitting right next to someone," Edmondson said.
In a video news release, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi explains the multiple levels of precautions that theater employees take as part of The Cinemark Standard program.
"We are evolving how we operate to make sure that you feel confident and comfortable when you visit one of our theaters," Zoradi said.
Part of that evolution includes renting the whole theater to yourself. Both Cinemark and AMC offer theater rentals for up to 20 guests. The cost is $149 for new releases or $99 to watch a classic film.