NORTH ATTLEBORO — It was going to be a — you should pardon the expression — blockbuster weekend.
Two weeks ago, Showcase Cinemas on Route 1 planned to reopen with new safety protocols in place and a selection of what it called “modern classics,” including the original “Jurrasic Park” and “Ghostbusters.”
Now, nearly a month after owners National Amusements made that hopeful announcement, the 12-screen multiplex is still dark, along with the other Showcase venues in the area — at Patriot Place in Foxboro and in Seekonk — along with the rest of its theaters around the state. They likely will be for the foreseeable future.
The fault, the Norwood-based company says, is with the state’s remaining limits on entertainment venues aimed at stemming the spread of the cornonavirus pandemic.
“The current state restrictions simply do not allow us to provide a full movie-going experience,” Mark Malinowski, vice president of global marketing at Showcase, said in a statement.
The state plan allowed theaters and certain other businesses, such as gyms and casinos, to reopen in mid-July, with certain restrictions on occupancy and requirements for cleaning.
National Amusements announced recently that “due to operating restrictions under Part 1 of Phase 3 of the Massachusetts Reopening Plan” it was postponing its reopening of Showcase Cinema de Lux locations in Randolph, Revere, North Attleboro and Woburn.
“Under the current reopening plan, movie theaters cannot provide food and beverage services, auditorium capacity is limited to 25 people, and all moviegoers are required to wear masks while in their seats. Showcase Cinemas in Massachusetts will eventually reopen once Massachusetts state guidance allows for a full movie-going experience,” the company said.
The company says it has a set of safety protocols, “Be Showcase Safe,” developed with health and safety experts, that it will use to reopen theaters nationwide.
Showcase recently reopened some of its theaters in Ohio and Rhode Island. It plans to reopen its location in Providence Place this Saturday. Theaters in Massachusetts, as well as others in Rhode Island and New York, will open in further phases following state guidelines in the coming days and weeks, the company said.
North Attleboro’s other movie theater, Route One Cinema Pub, has also remained closed since Gov. Charlie Baker ordered an emergency shutdown in March of businesses deemed nonessential. A message left for owner Chris Ballarino on Wednesday was not returned.
Regionally, other major theater chains — Regal Cinemas and AMC — earlier had plans to reopen at the end of this month but have since pushed those back to mid- to late August, according to industry sources.
By contrast, the Rustic Drive-In in North Smithfield, R.I., and Mendon’s Twin Drive-In have been drawing healthy crowds this summer.