Streaming on the big screen: Chapel Hill movie theater to open for private group bookings

Coronavirus

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – One weekend activity a lot of families are missing during the COVID-19 pandemic is going to the movies. Theaters have been closed for several months. New films will start to be released again next week, but not in North Carolina.

Movie theaters are part of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Phase Three of reopening the economy, which is about another month away.

Silverspot Cinemas in Chapel Hill is opening its theater for private bookings this weekend.

“I think it’s a great thing. I think people are excited about it and people want to get out of the house,” said David Maddox, director of operations at Silverspot Cinemas.

They’re also reopening their full kitchen and bar. For $99, eight people can sign up to rent a room. It’ll fit up to 10 people under social-distancing guidelines.

“The theater is a perfect environment for that in the way it’s set up and just, in general, the way people sit and watch a movie. It’s not an extremely social environment,” Maddox said.

Guests just need to bring their own log-in information for streaming services like Netflix. Their shows and movies will then be played on the big screen.

The $99 booking fee can go toward food and drinks. Once everyone’s seated, they can take off their masks and dine-in.

“We really want to show everybody that it is a safe environment,” Maddox said. “Safer than sitting on an airplane seat, I assure you.”

Since theaters aren’t allowed to reopen right now until at least September, Silverspot decided to get creative.

“If you don’t do something, you’re not going to be there at the end, and we’re definitely going to be there at the end,” Maddox said.

New films haven’t been released in months.

“As an industry as a whole, it’s been devastating.”

Their patio and restaurant will also reopen under CDC guidelines.

Silverspot’s goal is to ease people back in so they’re prepared when theaters can fully reopen.

“The bottom line is people really have to feel comfortable coming back into the theater,” Maddox said.

There will be extra cleaning and sanitation options in place. Silverspot will open for private bookings on Saturday.

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