True to the slogan on its marquee, which said "we will get through this" at the outset of the pandemic, the Roxy Theater is reopening on June 4.
The first titles are “Nomadland,” starring Frances McDormand, which won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director for Chloe Zhao; and “Minari,” writer-director Lee Isaac Chung’s story of a Korean-American family who move to Arkansas.
Then on June 11, they’ll present “In the Heights,” a musical drama from director Jon M. Chu based on Lin-Manuel Miranda’s theatrical show.
For most of that first month, they’ll have one film playing daily on two screens and a few more on the weekends “so we can all get in the hang of going to movies together again,” said Mike Steinberg, the nonprofit’s executive director.
The capacity will be limited to about half to allow for social distancing, and they felt comfortable reopening with local vaccination rates.
“Just looking at what the numbers are in our county, and knowing a bit about our demographic and population that tends to come to the theater, we'll be looking at largely vaccinated audiences as well,” he said.
The Roxy has been open for private rentals for six months and has a new air filtration system for all three theaters and the lobby. He said community members have been respectful of all the rules, which they expect will continue as they reopen.
“We hope that they will feel comfortable knowing that … the staff is vaccinated, knowing that there's a filtration system in place, and that there's ample room to kind of spread out and watch the movies,” he said.
There are plenty of first-run independent films on the schedule ahead, he added. At first, the older repertory titles will be shown outside in the Movie Garden, but they’re eager to make the transition to having those inside as well when it’s appropriate.
“The cinephiles on staff, myself included, prefer to watch movies in movie theaters,” he said.