Apr. 19—Some Regal-owned theaters are now open and showing movies nationwide, but Joplin's Regal Northstar theater complex isn't one of them.
That's expected to change in roughly a month's time. The 14-screen complex located behind Northpark Mall is scheduled to reopen to the public on Friday, May 14, as part of a staggered nationwide schedule released this week by Cineworld, parent company of Regal Cinemas.
"We are excited to open our doors and begin sharing our love of movies with our fans," Regal officials said in a statement.
Regal, the second-largest theater chain in the U.S. with 536 theaters, has already green-lit the opening of 33 theaters in 11 states earlier this month, with a majority of these located in California and Florida. Another 46 theaters are expected to open this week. A third round of openings is scheduled for Friday, May 7. A fifth and final round of openings is scheduled for Friday, May 21.
Northstar 14 shut down for the first time on March 16, 2020, per U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines as the pandemic spread rapidly across the nation. Company officials at the time cited two primary reasons: health and safety concerns for patrons as well as the fact that Hollywood pushed most of its 2020 "tent-pole movies" to 2021. Highly anticipated movies that now will appear in 2021 include the 25th James Bond movie "No Time to Die," "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," "Black Widow" and "Top Gun: Maverick."
After reopening on Aug. 21, Northstar shut down again on Oct. 8. Joplin's lone multitheater movie complex has sat dark since, its posters displayed outside along the front wall yellowed from the sun. Most of the other regional theater complexes opened weeks and months ago, including those in Neosho, Pittsburg, Kansas, and Miami, Oklahoma, as well as single-screen theaters in Webb City, Lamar and Joplin's Bookhouse Cinema.