New Jersey Theaters Hustle to Reopen for ‘Tenet’

“Tenet” opens in the U.S. this Friday, though theaters will still be closed in New York.

But across the Hudson River, theaters are scrambling to reopen, after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the state’s closure order on Monday.

The Bow Tie Cinemas location in Hoboken — just a few blocks from the Lincoln Tunnel — will be open on Friday, said Jared Milgram, the executive vice president of film and marketing at the chain.

“We’re definitely the closest (to Manhattan),” Milgram said. “There are other close ones, but we’re right there.”

AMC Theatres, meanwhile, is not expected to be ready to reopen in the state by this weekend.

Murphy announced on Monday that theaters can reopen at 25% capacity, or 150 people, whichever is less. The state is also mandating that patrons wear masks except when eating.

The reopening comes just two weeks after a federal judge upheld the state’s closure order. Six theater chains — including AMC and Bow Tie Cinemas — had sued the state, along with the National Association of Theatre Owners, arguing that the closure violated the First Amendment. Judge Brian Martinotti refused to grant an injunction, finding it was not his place to second-guess the state’s elected officials.

BJK Entertainment, which operates theaters in Hillsborough Township, N.J., and Skillman, N.J., was also one of the plaintiffs. Robert Piechota, president of the company, said he is hoping to reopen this weekend for “Tenet,” but if not will do so next weekend.

“We have to try to get (workers) back,” said Piechota, who is also president of NATO of New Jersey. “It was kind of sudden. I never knew it was going to happen until they announced it. It surprised us.”

Piechota said he’s optimistic about the fall release schedule.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “People want to get out to see movies. We’ve heard that a lot.”

Bow Tie is also reopening its theaters in South Orange and Ridgewood.

“We hope that ‘Tenet’ does well obviously, so more studios see that planting their flags in the fall is a reality,” Milgram said.

New Jersey also allowed restaurants to reopen for indoor dining on Friday, also with 25% capacity.

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