Liam Neeson stops by screening of The Marksman to welcome New York moviegoers back to theaters
He has a very particular set of skills. And they include the ability to say "thank you."
Liam Neeson stopped by New York City's AMC Lincoln Square on Friday to introduce an evening showing of his new movie The Marksman, and to thank moviegoers for coming out on the first day of New York cinemas' reopening. The city's movie theaters had been shuttered for nearly a year due to COVID-19.
"Coming to a movie theater for me is like coming home," Neeson said at the 7 p.m. screening, according to a statement. "I find it sacred. That feeling has never changed."
The Taken star, who has reportedly received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, previously announced that he would stop by the theater. "This is one for the diary," Neeson told The Hollywood Reporter. "It will be nice to welcome people. I think going to the cinema is a bit of a sacred experience. I've felt that way since I was a kid."
The Marksman stars Neeson as a rancher and former Marine living along the Mexico-Arizona border, who must help a young boy escape a drug cartel.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that movie theaters in the state's largest city would finally be allowed to reopen on March 5. Several precautions against the coronavirus will be in place: theaters will operate at 25 percent capacity, with no more than 50 people allowed per screening, with masks mandatory and assigned seating to ensure social distancing.
Though many theaters across the country have reopened in recent months, cinemas in the nation's two biggest markets, New York and Los Angeles, remained closed. New York's reopening will undoubtedly be a major boon to theater owners, who have been battered by the pandemic as studios have pushed back most major releases and cautious moviegoers have largely stayed away. AMC Entertainment, the world's largest movie theater chain, has been moving closer to bankruptcy, while Regal, the second-largest chain in the U.S., temporarily closed its locations in October.
AMC has opened all 13 of its theaters in New York City, while Regal plans to reopen its locations in April. Independent theaters, including the IFC Center and the Angelica, also reopened on Friday.
In a statement last week, the National Association of Theater Owners applauded the decision to reopen New York's cinemas. "New York City is a major market for moviegoing in the U.S.; re-opening there gives confidence to film distributors in setting and holding their theatrical release dates, and is an important step in the recovery of the entire industry," the statement read.