ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- The historic Plaza Theatre has been a staple in Atlanta since 1939, but when the pandemic hit, the venue's future was threatened.

But thanks to community support, creativity and safety measures, the owner is now able to give audiences the full theater experience.

The Plaza Theatre prides itself on showing films you won't see at other movie theaters in town. When COVID-19 hit, the small independent cinema faces its most challenging chapter in its 80-year history.

"We've never been closed for than a week so the fact that we've been closed for almost six months is just unlike anything we've seen in a century honestly," said the owner, Christopher.

Adapting to changing conditions, Christopher was able to open two pop-up drive-in movie sites in early May.

"And while there's a drastically reduced capacity, we've been doing shows sometimes five days a week on both of those screens, and that's really huge in terms of being able to keep our folks paid," he added.

With an upcoming highly anticipated film and improved safety measures, he is hoping to lure back movie lovers. Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" was made not only to be seen in theaters, it was shot in the 70MM and IMAX process. Plaza Theatre is the only place in Atlanta providing this format.

"We are one of only five in the entire country showing this film and this format," said Christopher.

The historic venue has also been prepping its safety measures for months.

"Bringing concession to the seats instead of people being at the concession stand counter, so all this we had to work out and figure out and get it in time," he added.

Plaza Theatre is also upgrading sanitation procedures, contactless payments, temperature checks, making making masks mandatory for guests and employees, as well as offering strategic seating.

The cinema opens Thursday night with just one showing of "The Tenet", and then two movie showings the following days. You can purchase tickets online.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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