By CBSMiami.com Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Relaxed COVID restrictions have allowed more theaters to open. Regal Cinemas is slated to reopen hundreds of their screens Friday.

It’s good news for movie studios eager to finally release big blockbusters that have been sitting on the shelf for the past year.

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“What’s been really encouraging to Hollywood is just how many tickets have been selling internationally,” said Variety magazine’s Rebecca Rubin.

She said the year’s first major test, “Godzilla vs. Kong,” is off to a strong start in China, where it raked in $70 million in its opening weekend.

Theaters and studios alike are hoping American audiences are also ready to open their wallets.

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“People do want to come back to theaters,” Rubin said, “When they feel it’s safe, they will get back.

Making audiences feel safe is a priority for theaters, most of which are going the extra mile to make sure customers see their COVID precautions. IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond addressed the issue with CBS News’ Margaret Brennan.

He said, “They have to evoke cleanliness when you come in and I think the staff has to continue to handle egress and exit in certain ways that make people feel safe.”

If audiences show up this summer, the film industry could finally get its happily ever after.

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Despite the reopenings, several summer movies like “Black Widow” and “In the Heights” will still simultaneously release on streaming platforms.

CBSMiami.com Team