July appears to be target date for movie theaters reopening

Staff photo

Cineworld, the second-largest owner of movie theaters in the world, has targeted early July for the reopening of its facilities with strict safety measures to protect its patrons from the coronavirus.

The reopening would be in time for the debut of Warner Bros. tentpole “Tenet” on July 17 and Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan” on July 24.

Cineworld is the owner of the U.S. theater chain Regal Cinemas. You might ask what does that have to do with the movie-going experience in Northwest Arkansas?

Directly, nothing. Northwest Arkansas is serviced by Malco Theaters, a chain based in Memphis, and AMC, the largest theater chain in the world based in Leawood, Kan.

However, if Regal theaters are to open in early July, other theater chains likely won’t be far behind.

What about AMC and their financial situation?

Good question. Back in March, it appeared AMC Theaters might not reopen their doors after falling dangerously close to bankruptcy. MKM Partners upgraded AMC’s stock last week making its near-term bankruptcy risk less likely.

So it appears AMC Theaters, including the Fayetteville Fiesta Square location, should be re-opening in July or August.

Personally, I’m very interested in seeing director Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” and the trailer for “Mulan” looks interesting as well.

Hopefully there will soon be news of when Malco and AMC theaters will reopen.

112 Drive-In opens tonight

Courtesy photo

For the first time in a dozen weeks, Northwest Arkansas movie fans can actually go out to the movies.

In case you haven’t heard, the 112 Drive-In reopens tonight with the family-friendly double feature of “Trolls World Tour” at approximately 8:45 p.m and “Dolittle” at 10:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

June 4-6, the double feature will be “The Goonies” at 8:45 p.m. and “Wonder Woman” at 10:45 p.m.

Admission prices are $10 for those 13 years old and older, $6 for children age 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under. The company is asking that pets be left at home for the time being because of the need for physical distancing because of the coronavirus.

The drive-in will limit the number of vehicles on the lot and physical-distancing and other health and safety guidelines suggested by the state and local government and the Arkansas Department of Health will be followed.

The drive-in will open at 7:15 to help reduce traffic and lines, but the it is not accepting reservations.

Patrons can sit outside their vehicles, but children must be supervised at all times. The playground area is closed until further notice.

Concessions will be available. There will be one line for ordering and one line for pickup. The drive-in asks that only one person from each vehicle be responsible for ordering and pickup concessions at a time.

Trolls World Tour

Believe it or not “Trolls World Tour” is the most controversial movie this year. It’s not because of the content. The sequel to the 2016 hit “Trolls,” is safely PG-rated for its target audience. However, it is the movie in which Universal Pictures opted to debut digitally before it was able to appear in theaters.

It’s success prompted Universal to declare that once the pandemic was over that the studio would release films on video-on-demand concurrently with theaters. The declaration prompted AMC to declare it would no longer exhibit Universal’s films if it did so. Universal walked back the comment a day later saying it would respect the negotiated 90-day theatrical window.

As for the film itself, I’m sure some kids will enjoy the colorful characters and the music, but the film itself really isn’t aimed at anyone over the age of 12. It might not be bad foreground noise for a night out with the family. You might really enjoy watching your young kids enjoy it.

(PG) 1 hr. 34 min.
Grade: C-


Robert Downey Jr. is an excellent actor and performer. He’s great as Iron Man in all the Marvel movies, and if you go back to the 1980s and early 1990s, he starred in more than a few fine movies. He’s wonderful in the 1992 biopic “Chaplin” as Charlie Chaplin, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination. He was also hilarious in the 2008 satire “Tropic Thunder,” which earned him his second Academy Award nomination.

He has charisma galore and talent to burn, but for whatever reason, it just not work for him in “Doolittle,” where he plays the famous doctor who can talk to the animals.

Downey Jr. stars alongside Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen in live-action roles with Emma Thompson, Rami Malek John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez and Marion Cotillard voicing Doolittle’s animal buddies.

The script is weak and the jokes and humor fails in one of the sorriest examples of a big-budget comedy released in quite some time. A movie featuring so much talent shouldn’t be so abysmal, but this movie is a big stinker on almost every level. Even Danny Elfman’s music is off.

(PG) 1 hr. 41 min.
Grade: D-