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First anticipated blockbuster hits theaters since pre-pandemic times

Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" may take your mind through space and time, but your body will still be in the theater.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Thursday is the official opening day for the first anticipated blockbuster since the world became the plot of a movie we don't want to be in.

Christopher Nolan's "Tenet" may take your mind through space and time, but your body will still be in the theater. First Coast News found what's being done to keep you safe as you grab the popcorn.

The co-owner at Sun-Ray Cinema calls Tenet "the big one," and while she's talking about the movie this also goes for theaters this weekend. Under normal circumstances, the whole lobby at Sun-Ray would be packed.

"We're used to an opening night of a Christopher Nolan movie like line all the way to the door, packed out, and everybody's like hugging and kissing, so happy to see each other," said co-owner Shana David-Massett.

That's not how it is anymore. Movie theaters in Florida can be at 50% capacity, but many aren't even doing that. Sun-Ray is at 20% capacity, which is 30 people. 

You must choose your seats online ahead of time. Seats have empty ones around them.

"If we just let even 50% of people in and had stickers on the floor, yeah, mhm, right," David-Massett said sarcastically. "It's the capacity of the building. We know our building."

But they’re bringing out the 'big guns' when it comes to cleaning.

"He's our electrosonic virucide spraying gun," David-Massett said, holding a disinfecting machine.

Movie theaters are also stepping it up in terms of air flow. Sun-Ray's got UVC filters in their A/C. Cinemark states they've added "purge cycles" and supply fans to raise the fresh air rate.

The months of being partially open at Sun-Ray have all been practice.

"We're all looking at each other, our small team around here, and going 'I feel good, do you feel good?'" David-Massett said. "'I feel good.' 'We're still good. Woo! Let's keep going.'"

Movie theaters are still allowing you to rent them out for private watch parties.

"That's what we're about, we're about escaping," said David-Massett. "It's hard to escape from reality these days and we all agree we need some healthy outlets in which to do it. So to be able to bring that back to a community with a movie that has you somewhere between 'woo!' and 'I don't know about that,' regardless, is extraordinary to look at."

Make sure you know the protocols at the theater you're going. Many require you to buy your tickets online.