A New California: What’s in store for the movie theater industry

For so many, it’s a weekend ritual: head to the theater, grab the popcorn and get lost in the latest blockbuster.

Next time you’re able to do that, the experience could be a lot like your trip to the grocery store.

“Whereas normally we want to get people inside and out of the elements they may have to wait outside in a cue,” says Greg Laemmle of Laemmle Theatres.

Like all movie house owners across the country, Laemmle is planning for significant change at his seven theaters across the Los Angeles area.

Long gone is the idea of packing people into the theater

For starters, Laemmle says he’s going to have to re-train staff to serve patrons at the ticket and concession stands as sanitarily as possible.

He’s ok with that because that means he’ll have staff.

Laemmle tells me he’s had to let go of 95% of his team since theaters shuttered.

As for handling the 6-foot guideline inside his auditoriums, he’s not sure exactly how he’s going to do it.

Options for theatre owners include making every other row available eliminating chairs in a checkerboard pattern in advance.

Given that Laemmle’s grandfather founded the family theatre chain back in 1938, Greg is determined to weather this storm.

“We got through the introduction of TV, through home entertainment with VHS, cable, DVD and now streaming; we're an industry that's used to surviving challenges and we're just going to have to survive this one as well,” says Laemmle.