KANKAKEE — Classic Cinemas will be reopening all of its movie theater locations Thursday, April 15. This includes Paramount Theatre and Meadowview Theatre, both located in Kankakee County. Tickets for showtimes at both theaters will be posted this afternoon.
To purchase tickets and check showtimes, visit classiccinemas.com and select either Paramount or Meadowview.
Prior to the pandemic shutdown, overhauls and expansions were being implemented into Meadowview Theatre. Classic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson said he looks forward to sharing those renovations with the public when The Daily Journal spoke with him last month.
Meadowview now has seven newly renovated auditoriums. Auditoriums 1 and 2 were made into one expanded auditorium featuring a 60-foot wide screen, immersive sound and ultra-high contrast laser projection. Additionally, all of the seats are now heated recliners, according to Johnson.
Paramount now, too, has heated recliners in order to give options to moviegoers for varying comfort levels. The heat can be adjusted as needed.
“Top to bottom, everything is new and exciting about [Meadowview],” Johnson said. “So many seats, screens and availability of product — I think people are going to be blown away by how cool it is.”
The new projection system is referred to as a Premium Large Format in the entertainment industry, and that’s where the major opening blockbusters will be shown. It has 24 channels of sound rather than stereo, which has two channels.
Additionally, Classic Cinemas raised the light level on all projections above the industry standard, Johnson said.
“All of the images are crystal clear, bright and the way it should be seen,” Johnson said. “So, we’re very excited.”
Johnson acknowledged that most theaters have already opened and Classic Cinemas applauds their efforts for doing so safely. However, he said the company wanted to wait until there was a glimmer of consistent new releases and increases in vaccinated individuals.
“We were hoping to do it before the one-year anniversary of the shutdown back in March,” Johnson said. “We think that the numbers look really good, the vaccines look good, the product starts to look better — it seems like the time is right.”
Health and safety measures have been put into effect in order to assist the reopening. Classic Cinemas plans to have limited seating (auditorium capacity will be limited to 50 percent with a 50-person cap based on state guidelines), distance between groups, increased service, employee health screenings, improved air quality and increased sanitation.
The theaters ask the following of moviegoers: stay home if you or others you have been around have been sick with COVID-19; wear a mask unless eating and drinking in the auditorium; follow posted signs and physical-distancing markings; consider purchasing tickets online; and use touch-free payment in the theater when possible.
“We’re looking forward to seeing everybody come back when they feel comfortable and we’ll be ready for them,” Johnson said.
Health and safety measures — as well as a list of theater locations — are further detailed at classiccinemas.com. Paramount Theatre is located at 213 N. Schuyler Ave., Kankakee. Meadowview Theatre is located at 55 Meadowview Center, Kankakee.