EL PASO, Texas -- Renting out an entire movie theater for yourself isn't something new, but these days as theaters struggle with the difficulties of making moviegoers feel safe and comfortable during a pandemic, they're encouraging guests to try it.
"It makes us feel a lot more safe. If you can spread out, spread out. You know who is gonna be in there watching the movie with you," John Alvida said.
Alvida spent his day with family and friends inside their own private movie theater at Cinemark theaters in west El Paso.
"We were excited to come back to the movies and it's really cool cause you can rent out the movies for about 100 dollars," said Alvida.
While you can't fill every seat in the house, theaters such as Alamo Drafthouse have changed the guidelines to ensure customers feel safe and comfortable.
"Right now, there's a higher demand for them. People want to feel safe coming in and they're just comfortable sharing a space with just people they know," said Aracely Calzadias, events manager at Alamo Drafthouse.
Guests who rent a private theater at Alamo Drafthouse are only allowed a maximum capacity of 30 people. Renting a screening room costs $150 but there’s a required food-and-drink minimum of $150 as well.
Safety precautions used for public screenings are also used for private rentals.
"All guests that come through our front door will be stopped at the lobby and get a temperature check," Calzadias said. "We have sanitation stations through the entire theater, and we ask guests to keep their masks on while in the common shared spaces and while they're seated if they're not eating or drinking."
Guests can choose from dozens of big screen favorites to watch in their private theater. Film options range from 1980s classics like the "Goonies" to more recent films like "Despicable Me."
"The best part of this all is that you call the shots so it's your private theater with the Alamo experience," Calzadias said.
For most moviegoers, being able to feel comfortable while still enjoying a movie is what makes the experience even better.
"I think it's a good idea just for people to feel safe," said John.