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West Newton Cinema welcomes patrons to reopened theater

Patrons heading to the West Newton Cinema in 2011.
Patrons heading to the West Newton Cinema in 2011.Matthew J. Lee

On July 17, West Newton Cinema reopened its doors four months after shutting down due to the pandemic, and longtime owner David Bramante is eager for patrons to return.

”We’re looking forward to seeing our customers come back to the theater,” said Bramante. “We are playing older movies now but there will be new releases coming up, hopefully in the near future.”

The cinema is showing films Friday through Sunday this week, but plans to return to a full schedule as soon as possible. The theater has also introduced $5 movie tickets to encourage attendees and make it easier for families to afford a day out even during this time of financial uncertainty.

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In order to meet the new health and safety standards, the cinema said it has initiated strict sanitizing procedures on seats and touch surfaces along with required masks for staff and attendees.

Restrictions regarding seating have also been introduced with only 25 attendees allowed in the 225-seat theater and staggered seating. To further support social distancing, showtimes have also been staggered so that only one audience will be in the lobby at one time.

”It’s much less contact than a supermarket or even some sidewalks I’ve been on and you’re pretty much in your own little area of maybe 20 feet of space right now,” said Bramante. “We’re super aware of sanitizing and being aware of people’s needs and we’ve made all the adjustments in terms of barriers between the customers and the staff.”

Additionally, the cinema has partnered with the City of Newton and Newton Community Pride to offer concessions to the city’s pop-up drive-in movie showings.

During the shutdown, Bramante’s daughter launched a GoFundMe page to help the theater stay afloat. The campaign raised $46,366, almost doubling the original goal of $25,000, with many who donated sharing stories of their experiences at the theater and what it meant to them.

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Donors received a promise of free popcorn and endless appreciation from the Bramante family.

Bramante said that some of these stories included tales of patrons’ parents’ first date at the theater, long standing holiday traditions, and years of history intertwined with the lives of viewers.

”You don’t realize the impact you have on people, but the theater has so many different folks, so many memories so that was very nice to hear,” said Bramante.

For more information, visit www.westnewtoncinema.com.