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Sioux City movie theaters to delay reopening, despite go-ahead from Reynolds
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Sioux City movie theaters to delay reopening, despite go-ahead from Reynolds

Promenade Cinema 14

People walk into the Promenade Cinema 14 theater on March 13. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday signed an order that allows indoor movie theaters in the state to reopen as early as Friday, but the Promenade and the AMC Southern Hills 12 will both wait until studios release new films. That's expected to begin in July. 

SIOUX CITY -- Movie-goers will need to wait a little longer to see films on the big screen in Sioux City.

With novel coronavirus cases stabilizing in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday paved the way for indoor theaters in the state to reopen as early as Friday.

But owners of the two first-run theaters in Sioux City say they plan to remain dark until studios begin releasing new content.

"We really don't have any new films to play until July," Bill Barstow, owner of Omaha-based Main Street Theatres, which operates the Promenade Cinema 14 in downtown Sioux City, said Wednesday. "If we don't have content, we don't have anything to sell."

AMC Theatres said last month it won't reopen its 1,000-plus theaters, which includes the AMC Southern Hills 12, until Hollywood is ready to roll out new releases. The first summer film currently set to open is Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" on July 17, followed by "Mulan" a week later on July 24.

"While we expect to open our theaters in the weeks ahead of these new blockbusters, utilizing creative programming of immensely popular previously released films, we would be wise to do so only directly in advance of the release of major new movie titles," AMC said in a statement last month. "AMC is currently working through every detail required to successfully showcase these exciting new releases in an environment that’s safe and welcoming for moviegoers, and we will share those details as we get closer to the dates when our theaters will reopen."

AMC Southern Hills 12 and Promenade Cinema 14 have been shuttered since March 17, the day Reynolds ordered indoor theaters and a number of other businesses to temporarily close in an attempt to slow spread of COVID-19.

Main Street Theatres also operates theaters in Le Mars and Shenandoah, Iowa, Nebraska City, Nebraska, and Omaha. Barstow said the company is awaiting a similar announcement regarding indoor theaters from Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Barstow said over 160 Main Street employees were furloughed after the theaters closed. Before the theaters ramp back up, Barstow said he wants to make sure the environment is safe enough without running the risk of "having to shut it back down."

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