If, like us, you’ve exhausted Netflix and Amazon Prime’s entire back catalogue of films and series, you might be left wondering when you can begin to look forward to watching blockbuster movies on the big screen once more. Well, that wait might not be quite so long anymore, as major cinema chains have started to announce their plans to reopen cinemas from July.
When will cinemas reopen after lockdown?
On 11 May, the government set out their plan for easing the UK out of lockdown – within that, cinemas were listed as one of the last businesses set to reopen, with the earliest possible reopening date being 4 July, as long as the rate of infection stays low.
With this date still looking fairly probable, the UK’s main cinema chains have been announcing their individual reopening dates and plans for how they will make moviegoing a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
Cineworld has announced that their cinemas in England are scheduled to reopen from 10 July, with dates to follow for cinemas in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
Meanwhile, Vue is gunning to be first off the mark with plans to reopen cinemas from 4 July. Showcase Cinemas is also aiming for a 4 July reopening date.
Odeon is yet to announce an official reopening date, but has confirmed to Deadline that they are hoping for an early July date – whether they too will aim for 4 July is yet to be made clear.
What will cinemas look like after lockdown?
So what will a trip to the cinema look like in a post-lockdown world? As you may expect, strict social distancing measures will be enforced. In most of the major cinema chains, this will take the form of a reduced number of films being shown per day and staggered showtimes to limit crossover with other customers and to avoid crowds building in the foyer.
It’s also quite likely there will be a reduced number of seats for sale and online pre-booking will be mandatory. Households of any number will be able to sit together, with booking systems ensuring spaces are left between households to maintain social distancing.
As has been the case with other businesses reopening, you can expect to find perspex shielding at till points and antibacterial hand sanitiser dispensers throughout the building. Cleaning schedules will be frequent and vigorous and staff may be wearing PPE such as face masks.
If you’re someone who goes to the cinema for the pick ‘n’ mix as much as for the films, be prepared that this could look different, too. Vue Cinemas boss, Tim Richards, told The Telegraph that they would only be selling pre-packed pick ‘n’ mix for the time being, but other food will still be available as normal.
He said: ‘We’re going to have popcorn and Coke and all of our regular concessions. The only area I can see some change is that I suspect for the foreseeable future we will have prepacked pick ‘n’ mix.’
What films can we look forward to?
Lots of films saw delayed release dates thanks to lockdown, but it looks like the first releases in July will be Tenet on 17 July and Mulan on 24 July. Other upcoming releases to look forward to over the next few months are A Quiet Place 2, Wonder Woman 1984, Peter Rabbit 2, Black Widow, No Time To Die, Soul, Jungle Cruise, The King’s Man, The Witches, The Eternals, and Top Gun: Maverick.