ACTION will return to the Oatmill Cinema Complex big screen with the entertainment venue reopening tomorrow to movie-goers after almost five months of unprecedented closure.
The Percy Street complex will start showcasing both new and classic films after closing its doors in March as COVID-19 restrictions were rolled out.
The 500-patron capacity will be reduced to around 30pc due to restrictions and the facility has also introduced sensor light switches, an online ticketing system and allocated seating arrangements to limit contact points.
Cinema manager Shane Fulwood said he was excited for the soft reopening but understood there may be scheduling challenges given the industry’s global reliance.
“Even though we are going to be open, it is going to be a bit of a long haul,” Mr Fulwood said.
“Cinemas have opened up and had a great few weekends, but because they have had nothing significant to show, they have flatlined.
“Unfortunately for us, being in South Australia where it is reasonably COVID-19 safe has not helped as we are reliant on international product.”
Mr Fulwood said the decision to relaunch came down to the blockbuster film Tenet and its release date, expected to be later this month.
“Studios cannot rely on generating hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue just from South Australia, they need the whole world to make it work,” he said.
“There are a couple films which are set to be released in October and November, but there has been a significant shift of films into next year.
With Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Top Gun and Star Wars movie marathons all being considered, Mr Fulwood said he would keep an open mind to all ideas for the next six months.
“It is not looking as promising as what I thought around two months ago where I was thinking it was going to be a reasonably solid second half of the year,” he said.
“We do have a few ideas in the works which is partially to keep momentum up because there are bigger gaps later in the year.
“A lot of films have been streamed, which makes it difficult for us to have a viable business.”
Patrons are expected to follow strict COVID-19 measures when visiting the cinema complex which Mr Fulwood said might be a large change for many.
Mr Fulwood said the new online booking system the facility has adapted would create alteration in buying habit which customers may find difficult in the beginning.
“Now, once a booking is made, they can not add to it and we can not add to it,” he said.
“It is a double-edged sword because you can chose your seat, but you can not move either.
“We will be able to process bookings on the day, but it will be slower and you will have to book as a group and at the counter at the same time if you want to sit together.”
Social distancing measures will be followed with every second row closed to the public and a 1.5 distance maintained in between booking groups.
“It will be tricky because we might sell out even if the auditorium and foyer looks empty,” he said.
“People will get the hang of it eventually, but it is just a change.
“We are hoping we see support from the community not just for the weekend, but for the next six months.”