Kailua Cinemas reopening after almost 3 months closed; what you can expect


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Movie theaters got the green light to reopen last week. While many are opting to reopen in July, Kailua Cinemas is taking the chance to reopen this weekend.

Kailua Cinemas closed on March 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they decided to reopen June 26.

“It’s huge for us. We’re super excited. I believe the other theaters aren’t opening until next month so for us it’s awesome, it’s awesome for the community,” said Aaron Kunioka, Kailua Cinemas general manager.

Like many other businesses that have had to adapt to COVID-era guidelines, you can expect some changes at the movie theater. Movie goers no longer can buy tickets or reserve seats online. People must buy their tickets and concessions at the counter. However, a credit or debit card is needed.

“That’s just one more thing we don’t have to touch and it makes it easier for now,” said Kunioka.

At Kailua Cinemas, people used to be able to add their own condiments, but now, the condiments tables have been blocked off.

“If they’re wanting any condiments like butter or their drinks, they’ll make the order [at the counter] and then one of my staff members will go [to the condiments table]. You’ll get your butter and your drinks, you’ll pick it up and go in your theater,” said Kunioka.

Seating at Kailua Cinemas will also have major changes. Kunioka recommends that people go early to get better seats.

“When you get into the theaters myself and another manager is going to usher you into the theater,” said Kunioka.

Rows of chairs are blocked off with caution tape in the theater, and Kailua Cinemas has a rule to separate each party of people by two seats. Staff will assign seating.

People will be allowed to take off their mask to enjoy snacks while watching a movie.

“When you eat you can take [the mask] off but when you’re done eating we ask if you could put your mask back on,” said Kunioka.

He said after each screening, staff will come in to thoroughly clean. Movie showings have been spaced out by an hour and a half to ensure everything is clean and ready to go for the next group of guests.

The new changes didn’t stop people from coming in to be the first to see movies in the theaters again. Roxanne and Noah Baker were the first ones in line.

“We’ve been waiting and waiting for it to open. Some of us still have got gift cards,” said Baker. “It’s a good enjoyment for the family.”

Kunioka admits it was difficult to get everything ready since there wasn’t much direction given by the City and County of Honolulu, but he said they’ve looked at what other businesses are doing and are playing it on the safe side.

Workers must wear masks and gloves while working.

“We have to wear gloves which will be changing them pretty frequent because we’re dealing with people and changing out gloves as often as possible,” said Kunioka.

“Be patient with us,” said Kunioka. “We have rules that we set, but you know things can change. We may implement more. We may take some off. It’s just, a day-to-day thing, just because we’ve just reopened and we’re learning, just like everybody else.”

He said people will have to wait before new movies hit theaters. For now, Kailua Cinemas will show old favorites. This weekend’s lineup includes the Avengers, The Greatest Showman and Zootopia.

To find out more information on Kailua Cinema’s reopening weekend, you can visit their website.

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