Manitoba Daily

Saturday, December 9, 2023

On the opening weekend of ‘Spider-Man,’ cinemas must comply with Ontario’s new capacity rules

Cinemas must comply with Ontario's new capacity regulations.

Key takeaways:

  • Due to new capacity restrictions in Ontario theatres, Spider-Man fans will not be left out in the cold.
  • Premier Doug Ford’s latest rules for indoor facilities with more than 1,000 people do not require physical separation; this is the case.

Fans of Spider-Man will not be left out in the cold due to new capacity restrictions in Ontario theatres.

Moviegoers who pre-purchased tickets for the anticipated blockbuster “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will still have seats when COVID-19 measures cap large venues to 50% capacity at midnight on Friday, according to Cineplex Inc. and Landmark Cinemas, two of Canada’s largest film exhibitors.

Because Premier Doug Ford’s latest rules for indoor facilities with more than 1,000 people do not require physical separation, this is the case.

In the case of theaters, this means that one auditorium can be filled to more than half capacity as long as the entire structure is kept at half capacity.

In practice, crowds inside a single screening of “Spider-Man: No Way Home” could exceed 50%, as long as screenings of less popular films are evenly distributed.

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The exceptions are movie theatres in Kingston, Sudbury, and Sault Ste. Marie is subject to specific health directives that include social distancing and a 50 percent capacity limit for each auditorium.

Late Friday, Cineplex announced that starting Sunday, its Ottawa theatres would be subject to distancing rules as well.

The new capacity limits take effect shortly before a new round of tighter restrictions occurs early Sunday morning.

According to Ford’s government, the new precautions include a prohibition on food and drink sales at various venues, including movie theatres. Because most ticket sales go to the film’s distributor, concession sales make up a significant portion of a theater’s operating revenue.

The province claims that stricter food and drink regulations are part of an effort to prevent people from removing their masks in public and spreading the virus.

After a record-breaking ticket pre-sale, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is released in theatres. According to industry estimates, the film could gross up to $130 million over the weekend, making it the most successful opening for a film since the pandemic began.

The Marvel superhero film is one of the most anticipated films of the holiday season, which will also see the release of “The Matrix Resurrections,” “The King’s Man,” “Sing 2,” and awards contender “Licorice Pizza” next weekend.

On the opening weekend of 'Spider-Man,' cinemas must comply with Ontario's new capacity regulations.
Cinemas must comply with Ontario’s new capacity regulations. Image from Samachar Central

When guests with reserved tickets arrive, Cineplex Inc., the country’s largest movie theatre chain, says it will follow the new government guidelines by relocating them to seats in less-crowded auditoriums.

“We appreciate our guests’ patience and understanding as our local teams work hard to implement these new mandated changes on such short notice,” the company said in a statement.

“First and foremost, we must implement these new guidelines, and second, we must ensure that all of our guests with tickets to upcoming showtimes are safely accommodated.”

Landmark Cinemas, which has fewer cinemas in the province, claims that the new capacity restrictions will have little effect.

“Moviegoers will be able to see ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ in all Landmark theatres without having to change seats,” the company said in a statement, noting that it has larger venues in Kanata, Whitby, Kitchener, and Waterloo.

“We’ll keep an eye on ticket sales to make sure we’re following the government’s order to keep the complex at 50% occupancy.”

Other provinces have approached theatre capacity and distancing measures in different ways.

While most theatres in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island are capped at 50% capacity and subject to physical distancing, the rules in British Columbia and Quebec are similar to those in Ontario.

Source: CP24 News

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