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AMC Showplace 16 in Schererville and Cinemark at Valparaiso to reopen next week
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AMC Showplace 16 in Schererville and Cinemark at Valparaiso to reopen next week

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Two of Northwest Indiana's biggest multiplexes reopen next week after closing in March, toward the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

AMC Showplace 16 in Schererville is slated to reopen Aug. 20, while Cinemark at Valparaiso will reopen Aug. 21.

Kansas-based AMC also plans to open its other Northwest Indiana theaters — AMC Showplace 12, AMC Classic Hobart 12 and AMC Classic Michigan City 14 — by Sept. 3, AMC spokesman Ryan Noonan said.

AMC will try to lure customers back during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering "movies in 2020 at 1920 prices" of 15 cents each on the first day of reopening. Seating capacity will be limited to promote social distancing.

The nation's largest movie theater chain will open 100 locations initially and then 300 more over the subsequent two weeks in anticipation of the release of "The New Mutants" on Aug. 28 and Christopher Nolan's "TENET" on Sept. 3.

AMC will bring back vintage movies like "Inception," "Back to the Future," "Black Panther," "Ghostbusters," "Grease" and "Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back." Tickets will be $5, and the concession stands will offer $5 items such as popcorn and Coca-Cola Freestyle drinks through the end of October.

“We are thrilled to once again open our doors to American moviegoers who are looking for an opportunity to get out of their houses and apartments and escape into the magic of the movies," CEO Adam Aron said. 

New cinematic releases for the big screen will include Russel Crowe's "Unhinged," "Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula," "Cut Throat City" and "Words on Bathroom Walls." Upcoming releases include "Infidel," "The King's Man" and "The War with Grandpa," in which Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken team up to fight in a war for the first time since "The Deer Hunter."

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New safety precautions will include extra time between show times for thorough cleanings, nightly disinfecting with electrostatic sprayers, high-tech HEPA vacuums, upgraded air filtration, and seat blocking to limit capacity. Movie goers will have to wear marks. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes will be made available.

When it reopens, Cinemark at Valparaiso also will show classics like "Goonies," "Jurassic Park," "Avengers" and Harry Potter movies, as well as more new releases and recent releases like the Vin Diesel superhero flick "Bloodshot." 

It also is mandating face masks.

Cinemark will sanitize restrooms, door handles, self-ticketing kiosks, box-office countertops, and concession stands every 30 minutes. Auditoriums will be disinfected with pressurized sprayers every morning, and seats will be sanitized before every movie. 

Moviegoers also can use seat wipe dispensers to re-clean their seats.

Cinemark is raising the fresh-air rate of its HVAC systems and using supply fans to bring in more air from outside. It's also using MERV filters and HEPA vacuums to try to scoop up more microscopic particles in the air. 

"The health and safety of our employees and guests and communities is a top priority," CEO Mark Zoradi said. "We are evolving how we operate so you feel confident and comfortable when you visit our theaters." 

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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