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Here's what to expect at movie theaters when they reopen

Cinemark gave TODAY an exclusive look at how its movie theaters have been transformed before reopening after months of being closed during the pandemic.
/ Source: TODAY

There will be plenty of popcorn and Plexiglass when major movie theaters get set to reopen across the country in a matter of weeks.

Joe Fryer got an exclusive look on TODAY Wednesday at the safety precautions national theater chain Cinemark is taking as the first national brand to relaunch amid the latest phase of reopening across the country during the coronavirus pandemic.

People at the cinema top view
Movie seating will be a little different when theaters reopen, as national chain Cinemark said seats will be blocked off around customers to ensure social distancing. Getty Images

"We've really gone the extra mile to make this a healthy and safe environment for our guests," Cinemark Theatres CEO Mark Zoradi told Fryer.

Cinemark's reopening will begin Friday with a handful of theaters in Dallas, followed by opening more than 300 theaters across the country by the middle of July.

Movie theaters will be allowed to open in at least 31 states by the end of June, and some local chains have already returned to business with increased safety measures.

Employees at Cinemark will undergo wellness and temperature checks and be required to wear masks, while floor stamps and Plexiglass barriers have been installed to enforce social distancing in high-traffic areas.

Moviegoers will be required to reserve seats in advance rather than the usual first-come, first-served scenario. The reservation system will then block off seats around the customer so that everyone will be spaced at least 6 feet apart.

Other national chains like Regal and AMC have also announced similar changes and safety precautions for their planned reopening by mid-July.

After postponing their major releases over the last three months, studios are getting set to resume rolling out blockbusters in July like the Russell Crowe thriller "Unhinged," Disney's live-action remake of "Mulan" and Christopher Nolan's sci-fi film "Tenet."

Cinemark and Regal told Fryer they will also be showing classic films at discounted prices before the big movie releases in July. Many other anticipated summer films like "Wonder Woman 1984," Marvel's "Black Widow" and the latest James Bond movie, "No Time to Die," have been pushed to the fall.

The main question remains whether audiences will return to theaters or continue to watch their movies at home or at drive-in movie theaters.

"People want to go and have a shared cinematic experience in a big theater," Zoradi said.