Cineworld is planning to reopen all of its UK cinemas in July, the chain’s bosses have said.
The company said it was anticipating that relevant coronavirus restrictions would be lifted in time, with procedures being prepared to ensure movie-goers will be able to watch films in a “safe and enjoyable way”.
Among the first major releases upon Cineworld’s return could be Christopher Nolan’s action-thriller Tenet, which has refused to budge from its 17 July date, and Disney‘s remake of Mulan, which was pushed from March to 24 July.
In a statement to investors, Cineworld said: “Cineworld currently anticipates that government restrictions related to cinemas will be lifted in each of its territories by July.
“Subject to this and confirmation of the schedule for film releases, Cineworld anticipates the reopening of all of its cinemas in July.”
The firm added: “Cineworld has put in place procedures to ensure a safe and enjoyable cinema experience for its employees and customers.”
It remains to be seen what safety measures Cineworld will introduce to combat COVID-19.
In Germany, one Berlin cinema ripped out a number of seats to maintain distance between members of the audience, while other cinemas have installed plastic screens between seats.
Rival UK chain Vue has said it plans to physically isolate family groups and stagger showtimes to reduce crowding.
Cineworld has also managed to secure new funding, giving the company enough financial flexibility to support its incomes even if cinemas have to stay closed until the end of the year.
Its target to return in July is based on government guidance for the hospitality industry.
The news prompted shares in Cineworld to rise 25%.
The news comes shortly after the makers of the first major movie to be released in cinemas since the coronavirus lockdown told Sky News it is the “canary in the coal mine” for an entertainment industry looking to reopen.
The film Unhinged, a road rage thriller starring Russell Crowe, will hit cinemas in the US on 1 July, months earlier than originally planned.
It bucks the trend of films being delayed or released on TV and streaming services.
Some of 2020’s biggest films have been delayed by upwards of a year, and among the movies to have been pushed into the winter months are the next James Bond film, No Time To Die, which had been due in April.
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