The government has begun to outline its plan to end lockdown and, one by one, cinema chains are following suit. Following announcements by Odeon and Vue that they’ll be looking to reopen in July comes a similar statement from Cineworld.
The multiplex chain, which runs 128 cinemas in the UK and Ireland, including 26 Picturehouses, as well as 787 globally, is aiming to have all its projectors whirring again in time for the release of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ on July 17 – subject, of course, to the official go-ahead from Boris Johnson.
‘[We] currently anticipate that government restrictions related to cinemas will be lifted in each of its territories by July,’ Cineworld said in a statement. ‘Subject to this and confirmation of the schedule for film releases, Cineworld anticipates the reopening of all of its cinemas in July.’
Of the likely social-distancing and hygiene measures that will be implemented, it added: ‘Cineworld has put in place procedures to ensure a safe and enjoyable cinema experience for its employees and customers.’
Many of London’s cinemas closed their doors by March 18. Opening up again in mid-July would mean closures of four months in total, a devastatingly long period for movie lovers and all cinemas, though it threatens to become even more devastating for London’s smaller film venues. A recent survey of nearly 500 employees of independent cinemas found that only 13 percent expect their cinemas to be open in July, citing the practical and financial challenges of implementing social-distancing measures. So, will smaller cinemas be able to join the big chains in picking up ‘Tenet’ takings or is July too soon? Watch this space.