Empire Cinema’s understated reopening has been delayed to next week, after the American studios pushed back the theatrical release of two movies.
The Rarotonga cinema has been closed since March, when health ministry Te Marae Ora first imposed social distancing.
The Harry T Napa Family and the Ernest Taripo Family, who own the Empire, have used the opportunity to change lights, spruce up the paintwork and do general maintenance on the complex.
Cinema 2 will be up and running again, but Cinema 3 remains mothballed as the technician scheduled to do repair work on the projector has been stuck in New Zealand.
The Napas had planned to open last night by rerunning some films already released on streaming video, followed by the premieres of Mulan and Tenet.
Mulan, is a Disney live-action film directed by New Zealander Niki Caro, in which a young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.
Tenet, a sci-fi thriller, features the Protagonist journeying through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time.
However, both films’ theatrical releases have now been pushed back to August, because of continued cinema closes across most of the US.
So Empire will open on Thursday next week, with the first big screen showing of Trolls II at 6pm, a school holiday treat, then the Vin Diesel action pic Bloodshot for the grown-ups at 8.30pm.
Adults will pay the same discounted admittance as their children at Trolls II, as a reopening special.
The first new releases will be the following week, with StudioCanal thriller Unhinged, starring Kiwi-born actor Russell Crowe as the angry and deranged lead.
Empire manager Pa Napa said the cinema complex would provide hand sanitiser; and he was not expecting full houses in the first week or two – meaning there would be space for people to physically distance from other patrons in the theatre.