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What It’s Like To Go To The Movies During COVID-19




Patrons wait for the start of a movie at Cinemark's Century 16 at the South Point Hotel & Casino on August 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Patrons wait for the start of a movie at Cinemark's Century 16 at the South Point Hotel & Casino on August 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Christopher Nolan’s new time travel thriller “Tenet” has been touted as the film to bring back movie theaters during the COVID-19 pandemic. While it remains to be seen whether that prediction comes true, if there’s going to be a film to do it, another one of Nolan’s so-called “brainy blockbusters” in the vein of “Inception” and “Interstellar” has as good a chance as anything. Nolan and Warner Brothers delayed the film’s release several times over the course of two months, insisting that the film be seen as Nolan intended it to -- on the big screen. 

Finally, the film is out this Labor Day Weekend and so far seems to be gathering mostly positive reviews. But if you live in the L.A. area, you won’t be able to see the film at your local theater or on demand at home. That’s because the film is only releasing in cities where indoor theaters have reopened. But, for the most buff of film buffs and intrepid moviegoers, there is a way you could see the film -- drive to Las Vegas, where theaters have reopened. KPCC’s John Horn did just that, and while he says some of the things he remembers about the theater are still there, a lot has changed. There are things you might expect like extra space between seats in the theater, wipes all around and staff members cleaning handrails ,and some you might not. Physical tickets have given way to digital only, there were

Today on AirTalk, we’ll hear from John about what it was like to go see a movie for the first time since the start of the pandemic and why other moviegoers say seeing “Tenet” in theaters is worth the risk.

Clarification: In this segment, we said that the film was not playing in Southern California. The film is not available in the greater Los Angeles area, but it can be seen in theaters in San Diego that are currently open.

Guest:

John Horn, host of the KPCC/LAist Studios podcast “Hollywood, The Sequel”; he tweets @JGHorn