As theaters around the U.S. begin to reopen, rules will vary from chain to chain and location to location — and it might get complicated keeping health and safety procedures straight. Fandango wants to make it easier. The online movie ticket purveyor on Tuesday began rolling out new features on both its app and website, including coronavirus safety information from 100 theater chains. The new resources include social-distance seating maps, a one-stop guide to safety policies, a special search filter to find reopened theaters by location, instructional videos, and much more.
“At Fandango, our mission has always been super-serving fans with their entertainment needs, and we cannot wait to help fans get back the big screen safely and at the right time,” said Fandango President Paul Yanover in an official statement. “It’s a complicated rollout, with various states, cities and counties opening their venues in different phases. We hope Fandango will serve as a helpful one-stop resource for fans to find all the information and services they need for a comfortable return to their local theaters.”
Additionally, Fandango announced it is extending expired rewards for its VIP+ program members for an additional 60 days to give customers more time to redeem them.
The country’s largest chain, AMC Theatres, will open 450 of its US locations on July 15, and the remaining 150 theaters on July 24. Regal will start reopening venues on July 10, while Cinemark started reopening on June 19, with the remainder set to open by July 17.
All three major chains’ safety plans follow the same broad strokes, like reduced auditorium capacity and enhanced cleaning procedures. But they differ in subtle ways. Regal, for example, has specified that employees will sanitize every seat after each movie using an electrostatic fogger. Regal and AMC have moved to require customers wear masks after facing backlash for not having that requirement. Cinemark has yet to announce such a requirement.
For customers, the Fandango-provided information could offer an important guide to subtle differences that may make help inform their choice to go to a specific theater, based on what they’re comfortable with.
“We are working closely with our friends in exhibition to help get their ticketing back online and film fans back in seats with peace of mind,” said Melissa Heller, Fandango’s vice president of domestic ticketing, in a statement. “In addition to our new product features, Fandango’s mobile ticketing will be an added benefit, helping moviegoers and cinema employees reduce the number of contact points at the box office and throughout the theater.”