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Nevada movie theaters can open Friday, but will they?

Updated May 29, 2020 - 11:38 am

Just because Las Vegas movie theaters can be open doesn’t mean that they will be anytime soon.

Most of them aren’t expected to throw open their doors for another month.

Theaters were included in the list of businesses that Gov. Steve Sisolak said could resume Friday as part of Phase Two, but unlike their counterparts — including bars, gyms, spas and bowling alleys — cinemas simply have nothing new to offer.

Movie studios began shuffling their release schedules in early March. Since then, virtually everything has been pushed to later this year or, in several cases, next summer.

The one blockbuster that refused to move — Christopher Nolan’s twisty espionage thriller “Tenet” — is still scheduled for a July 17 release that would mark a tentative return to moviegoing. Cinema chains are targeting a soft relaunch in late June so employees and moviegoers can get acclimated to new safety protocols.

“While we’re thrilled to see Las Vegas springing back to life, our plans still provide for theater openings at the end of June,” said Rafe Cohen, president of Galaxy Theatres, which has three valley locations.

All of that assumes “Tenet” actually opens July 17. Warner Bros. needs the vast majority of the world’s movie theaters to be open by then to have any hope of turning a profit on the ambitious spectacle. When a new “Tenet” trailer debuted May 21, though, there was no opening date attached — only the words “coming to theaters.”

Aside from that, the small-scale Russell Crowe road rage thriller “Unhinged” on July 1 and Disney’s live-action “Mulan” on July 24 are the only movies scheduled to be in theaters before “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” on Aug. 7.

While some independently owned theaters have reopened in states that have allowed it, Variety reported only 3 percent of indoor theaters were open the week ending May 23. The nearest one to Las Vegas, the Coral Cliffs Cinema 8 in Hurricane, Utah, is surviving by showing the likes of “Grease” and “The Goonies.”

Locally, Maya Cinemas is aiming for a late-June reopening of its North Las Vegas location.

Management of downtown’s Eclipse Theaters hasn’t decided when to reopen, it said in an email, but it is “continuing to monitor state, federal and CDC guidelines.”

Cinemark “is currently working toward a mid-summer opening date,” according to its website. Neither AMC nor Regal, the country’s two largest chains, has opened any of its locations or announced plans to do so.

Brenden Theatres at the Palms remains closed and probably will be for some time. The Palms isn’t among the initial wave of Station Casinos with reopening plans.

The Las Vegas Drive-In, which allows for greater social distancing, reopened May 9 with new safety measures in place.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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