Liam Neeson has announced that he will be on hand to personally welcome back cinema-goers tonight as New York movie theatres re-open for the first time in almost a year.
New York is America’s leading movie market along with the still-shuttered Los Angeles, and tonight (March 5) it springs back to life after being forced to close down last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Neeson, who has received his first vaccination shot, will celebrate its return by appearing at AMC Lincoln Square to personally thank movie fans and introduce his latest action flick, The Marksman.
“This is one for the diary,” Neeson told The Hollywood Reporter. “It will be nice to welcome people. I think going to the cinema is a bit of a sacred experience. I’ve felt that way since I was a kid.”
Speaking on the reopening of New York cinemas, Tom Ortenberg, chief of Open Road/Briarcliff, the company distributing The Marksman in the US, said: “The reopening of New York is a strong symbolic gesture to the theatre-going audience that it is okay to put your toe in the water.”
AMC is opening all 13 of its New York City locations, while arthouse cinemas such as the IFC Center and the Angelica are also opening tonight. Regal, which is owned by Cineworld, is targeting an April reopening.
Capacities in New York cinemas will be limited to 25 per cent, or no more than 50 people per theatre.
In addition to New York, cinemas in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area have also been given the okay to reopen, while Los Angeles could follow in the next several weeks.
The UK is still in lockdown which means cinemas are currently closed, but last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his plan to lift coronavirus restrictions. If government tests are met, UK cinemas could potentially reopen on May 17.
The Taken actor has revealed that he’s got a few more action projects in the works, but after that he’s keen to take on less-physical roles as he thinks be might be getting too old for the genre.