UK cinemas to reopen with security measures
London. – Odeon becomes the latest movie chain to announce it will reopen on May 17 after months of lockout closures.
Following a similar announcement from Cineworld, Odeon said it would open most of its 120 UK locations with new security measures in place.
The industry has been hit hard by Covid and Covid owner AMC warned last month that it was running out of cash.
“We’ve all missed the magic that cinema brings to watching movies,” said Carol Welch, CEO of Odeon.
The chain – Britain’s largest – said it would reopen the “vast majority” of its venues, including flagship cinemas in Leicester Square in London, Trafford Center in Manchester and Broadway Plaza in Birmingham.
The company is hoping moviegoers return to theaters to see the host of new 2021 movie releases, including Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, Fast & Furious 9, Marvel’s Black Widow, and the long-awaited Bond movie No Time to Die.
The channel will also screen Oscar-winning films that have been offered at no additional cost on screening services, such as Sound Of Metal (Amazon Prime) and Nomadland (Disney +).
Cineworld – which has around 100 locations – will mark its reopening with a new deal with Warner Bros to show films in theaters before they air. Godzilla vs Kong will be the first film to make its UK debut on Cineworld screens as part of the deal.
Seating at Odeon cinemas will be limited, ensuring unoccupied seats between parties to meet social distancing requirements.
Visitors will be required to wear face masks, but will be allowed to remove them in auditoriums when eating or drinking.
Meanwhile, show start times will be shifted to reduce queues and cinemas no longer accept cash, meaning only contactless payment is accepted and spectators are encouraged to pre-book their places online.
The film industry has been one of the sectors most affected during the pandemic with many screens being closed for long periods or operating at reduced capacity.
Global box office receipts in 2020 fell more than 70% from the previous year to US $ 12.4 billion, according to film technology company Gower Street Analytics.
Major releases have been delayed due to Covid, including the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, which has been repeatedly postponed. It will now debut worldwide on October 8, but was originally slated to hit screens in April 2020.
The highly anticipated sci-fi film Dune, starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, was originally slated for release in December 2020, but is now slated to hit theaters in October.
In December, Odeon’s US owner AMC Entertainment Holdings had to raise $ 100 million in emergency funds after warning it was running out of cash.
He said he was burning $ 125 million a month as concerns over Covid-19 closed some theaters and kept audiences away.
The firm said attendance fell 92 percent in the United States and 86 percent internationally. – BBCWorld