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Independent cinemas may not be ready to reopen in July

Not so fast, Christopher Nolan

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When it comes to the reopening of cinemas, the recent noises from the government and some of the bigger multiplex chains have been positive. Early July, it seems, is firmly in the sights of all concerned for taking down the shutters and firing up the projectors – certainly in time for the release of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ on July 17. But a new survey of independent cinemas expresses a slightly different, much more cautious message.

The Independent Cinema Office (ICO) survey canvassed 497 indie cinema workers – CEOs, directors and managers among them – of whom only 13 percent expect their cinema to be open in July. Forty-one percent say that they wouldn’t be able to reopen at all with social-distancing measures – reduced capacity and snack sales, one-way systems and PPE for workers – in some cases because their smaller venues couldn’t accommodate them. The need for government subsidies is cited as a key factor in reopening.

‘As an industry, we should be allowed to prioritise the health of our staff and audiences,’ notes one respondent. ‘Cinemas are built upon their relationships with audiences and audience trust will be broken if we reopen too soon and put them at risk.’

Others note the difficulty of convincing more elderly moviegoers that it’s safe to return and the prohibitive cost of the required social-distancing measures. Worryingly, the majority of venues believe they can only survive for three months with those measures in place.

You can read the report in full here.

A new drive-in cinema is coming to London this summer.

Not interested in watching ‘La La Land’ from a Zipcar? Watch dozens of movies from the golden age of Hollywood for free on iPlayer.


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