FilmScene Reopening Plan


The movies will be back.

FilmScene’s Chauncey location will begin screening films again soon. Our planned return on June 26 has been postponed at least two weeks to July 10 at the earliest while we wait for the public health situation to improve. When we reopen, we have planned a series of health and comfort policies for the return to moviegoing.

Turning the lights on again brings us joy. It is why we do what we do. At the same time, our community and our nation are reckoning with the pain of systemic racism and injustice. While true progress requires persistent action and committed reform across society, the arts can help light our path. In that light, our choice of cinema must represent our ongoing commitments, though the work we must do as cultural leaders cannot stop with the films on our screens.

Thank you for your continuing support. The movies are needed. The work is needed. We will be back.


FilmScene’s multi-week phased reopening plan has been postponed while we wait for public health conditions to improve again. When the time is right, our reopening celebrates art house essentials and new release films. Please note some new release dates may shift (indeed, the highly anticipated Tenet already has). Tickets and party reservations will first go on sale to members on June 18.

Reopening Programming
• Art House Favorites: If Beale Street Could Talk, Little Miss Sunshine, Singin’ in the Rain, Sorry to Bother You, Back to The Future
• John Lewis: Good Trouble — A stirring profile of the Civil Rights icon.
• First Cow — A meditative myth-reshaping Western from Kelly Reichardt
• Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits — four films in seven weeks celebrating the king of kung-fu

A Personalized Experience
• FilmScene Movie Parties opportunities — big screen experience, small group booking

Blockbuster Return
• Tenet — The highly anticipated, cerebral spectacle from Christopher Nolan


We take staff and patron health and safety seriously and have made significant changes to our regular practices to promote a positive and comfortable return to moviegoing. 


What FilmScene is doing to keep you healthy

Staff health and safety
Daily wellness and temperature checks + masks and gloves for all staff.

Full in-theater cleaning
Using both fabric-grade sanitizers and hard surface sanitizer for our theater seats, wiping down all handrails, doors and surfaces after each showtime.

Enhanced restroom cleaning
Full cleaning of our restrooms before and after each show with frequent spot checks.

Box office cleaning
Sanitizing box office area, including kiosks and payment portals after each show.

Social distancing measures
Ample time between showtimes to separate large crowds and floor spacing in line.

Physical distancing and limited capacities
Our theaters will initially operate at less than 40% capacity, with groups seated 6 feet apart.

Sanitizer on site
Hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and disposable face masks for our patrons.

Low-touch concessions
Eliminating self-serve concessions, encouraging preorders and cashless concessions area.

Healthy moviegoing
Our goal is keeping you safe and comfortable in our theater, let us know how else we can help!

How you can help keep us healthy. Please...

Stay home if sick
If you are feeling ill, exhibiting a cough, fever or other signs of sickness, please notify our managers.  We will give you a full refund so you can return at a later date.

Order in advance
Book your seats and preorder concessions online to reduce lines and contact

Go before you go
Reduce your bathroom visits by using the restroom before you leave the house

Maintain distance
Keep a 6 foot distance between yourself and other patrons in the lobby area, restrooms and in theater.

Masks on until seated
At the box office, concessions and common areas until you are in your reserved seats.

Seat and hands to yourself
While in the theater, stay in your specified seat and be mindful of any surfaces you are touching.

Ask for help
Notify a manager for all in-theater disturbances or if someone is exhibiting signs of sickness (excess coughing, etc), we are happy to help.

Keep it brief
Arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before your show and promptly leave the lobby area after the movie to reduce lobby crowding.


FilmScene has always taken pride in being more than a movie theater. Beyond our new release selections, we remain committed to restarting our beloved film series when the time is right. Below is a series of updates for our most prominent series:

  • Refocus Film Festival — inaugural year rescheduled for 2021
  • Rooftop Series — no summer series until 2021
  • The Picture Show — returns August 1 with Ponyo
  • Pride at FilmScene — returns September 23 with Holy Trinity
  • Science on Screen — spring series reimagined for fall 2020
  • National Theatre Live — returns August 9 with Hamlet
  • Late Shift at the Grindhouse — returns July 15 with Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits
  • Vino Vértié — planned return in fall 2020
  • Bijou Film Board programming — returns fall 2020
  • FilmScene Virtual Screening Room — programming will continue indefinitely


FilmScene is a mission-based nonprofit and our members and donors are the lifeblood of what we do. While we are currently working on new initiatives to ensure moviegoing is accessible to all in this challenging economic environment, we rely on your support to make our work possible.

If you can support us by making a donation or by becoming a member, we are grateful.

As we enter this next period in our evolution as an arts presenter, we are recommitting to our mission to enrich our communities through film that challenges, inspires, educates and entertains. We have ideas for the road ahead, and if you do too, please email us at

Thank you Iowa City, for continuing to support us during this challenging period, for our organization and our community.

At long last, we’ll see you at the movies again,