Brisbane's Cinemas Are Slowly Starting to Reopen
And more will relaunch when July rolls around, too.
When Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland's latest stage of eased COVID-19 restrictions, she gave cinephiles a particularly exciting piece of news. Movie theatres have been closed around the country since mid-March; however, as of Monday, June 1, projectors have been allowed to start whirring again in the Sunshine State. And, while that doesn't mean that it's popcorn-munching business as usual quite yet, local cinemas are gradually beginning to reopen.
The first to start welcoming movie buffs back into darkened rooms was New Farm Cinemas, which opened its doors on Friday, June 5. It's now showing flicks on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, including movies that were screening in March when cinemas shut, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, 1917, Dark Waters, Emma, Honey Boy, Jojo Rabbit, Richard Jewell, The Lighthouse, The Way Back, The Current War and The Gentlemen. It's also playing new films that were originally slated to hit cinemas during their closure, then switched to video-on-demand releases, and are now brightening up the big screen anyway. That means that if you haven't yet caught the Hugo Weaving-starring Hearts and Bones at home, or watched Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan eat and banter their way through The Trip to Greece, you can now do so in a theatre.
While New Farm is currently open — and Yatala Drive-In, which is also run by Five Star Cinemas, too — the company's other sites remain closed. No general relaunch dates have been announced as yet for the Elizabeth Picture Theatre or Red Hill Cinemas, but they are both taking bookings for private hires from Friday, June 12.
Also getting back into action is Cineplex Cinemas, with the discount chain's Hawthorne, Hawthorne Deluxe and Victoria Point venues reopening on Friday, June 12 — and screening The Invisible Man, The Trip to Greece and Dolittle. It's also keeping some locations closed for the time being, so don't go heading to Balmoral, South Bank, Nerang or Redbank just yet.
And, come Thursday, July 2, Palace's two Brisbane locations at Barracks and James Street will also relaunch. Even better — they'll do so with brand new movies that haven't screened in Aussie cinemas or hit VOD as yet. On that date, film fans will be able to check out The Booksellers and bakery-set British drama Love Sarah. The week after, Waves and A White, White Day will follow suit, before (hopefully) Christopher Nolan's Tenet hit the following week.
If Tenet does release on Thursday, July 16 as planned — which depends not only on Australian cinemas, but whether enough US and worldwide cinemas have reopened — it's safe to expect that plenty of other Brisbane picture palaces will relaunch on or around then. In fact, that's the date that the local industry has been working towards.
At the time of writing, big chains such as Event, Hoyts and Reading haven't revealed their reopening dates, nor smaller groups like Dendy, or independent Brissie sites such as Blue Room Cinebar, Eldorado or the Regal — but, again, expect that to change as mid-July creeps up.
And, like attending any business reopening in the time of COVID-19, patrons can also expect significant changes to the movie-going experience — including online bookings, allocated seating, gaps between patrons, contactless payment, social-distancing requirements and extra cleaning.
For more information about what's screening in Brisbane, or to book tickets, visit the websites for New Farm Cinemas or Cineplex. For details about Palace's reopening from July 2, visit the chain's website
Published on June 10, 2020 by Sarah Ward