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Cinemas to reopen after months of darkened screens

The first cinemas will reopen on July 4 after closing in March because of coronavirus.


Odeon is one of the chains reopening some cinemas on July 4 (Yui Mok/PA)

Odeon is one of the chains reopening some cinemas on July 4 (Yui Mok/PA)

Odeon is one of the chains reopening some cinemas on July 4 (Yui Mok/PA)

The first cinemas to reopen their doors will start showing films on July 4 after months of darkened screens.

All Showcase cinemas and 10 Odeon cinemas around England will open after closing in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with a mixture of recent releases and older offerings available to draw film fans back to theatres.

The Odeon cinema at Manchester’s Trafford Centre will screen Sonic The Hedgehog, Birds Of Prey and Bad Boys For Life, which were all released earlier this year, as well as The Hangover from 2009 and Batman Begins from 2005.

Other films directed by Christopher Nolan, including The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk and Interstellar, will also be available later in the month, ahead of the release of his latest offering Tenet, which has already had its release date moved twice.

Another 88 Odeons are also planned to reopen by the end of July, including the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square, which will reopen on July 13.

Showcase cinemas will also show older films on its opening day, including 1985’s Back To The Future and the 2019 Oscar winner Bohemian Rhapsody.

Vue, Cineworld and Picturehouse had all planned to reopen on July 10 but have pushed their first screenings back to July 31.

Proxima, starring Eva Green, was due to be released on July 10 but will now open on July 31.

Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe, was due for release on July 17 but has also been pushed to July 31.

Cinemas are planning to use socially distanced seating plans and enhanced cleaning when they reopen and Cineworld, which has about 100 cinemas around the UK, has said it has updated its booking system to ensure social distancing, and adapted its daily movie schedules to manage queues and avoid the build-up of crowds in lobbies.

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It has also said it has enhanced cleanliness and sanitation procedures across all sites.

Vue said it had taken lessons from the successful reopening of its cinemas in several European countries.

“Having taken comprehensive steps to safeguard our staff and customers, Vue is ready to welcome back customers to its UK cinemas.

“We know from successfully re-opening cinemas across Europe – including some 70 sites in Germany, Denmark, Holland, Lithuania, Poland and Italy – that audiences after lockdown are itching to enjoy the big screen experience again, with the added reassurance of rigorous new operating protocols and appropriate physical distancing.

“We also want to offer a great choice of content for the big screen experience and, despite having many classic films and recent releases lined up to whet the appetite of cinema audiences this summer, the worldwide rescheduling of the release dates of Mulan and Tenet has prompted us to review our opening dates.

“Under this revised plan, we will begin a phased reopening of our cinemas in the UK from July 31 rather than July 10.

“From the moment we reopen, customers will be met with a host of quality classics including the 10th anniversary edition of Chris Nolan’s Inception and George Lucas’s Empire Strikes Back, as well as popular Event cinema such as National Theatre Live’s critically acclaimed Fleabag. This line up will be complemented by the eagerly awaited launch of major new titles such as Tenet and Mulan, which are now due in mid-August.”

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