Cinema giants delay reopening in UK and US as movie releases stall

Catherine Shoard
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Matt Crossick/PA</span>
Photograph: Matt Crossick/PA

The UK’s largest chain of cinemas has pushed back its scheduled reopening date by three weeks, in response to further delays to the opening of key titles such as Mulan and Tenet.

Cineworld, which runs multiplexes and the Picturehouse chain in the UK, as well as Regal cinemas in the US, will now open the doors to its venues on 31 July. In a statement, the company attributed the move to shifts for release date to Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (now due 12 August) and Disney’s Mulan (now due 21 August).

The company said: “We hope that we will be able to reopen the doors of all Cineworld cinemas across the UK and Ireland at that time, subject to UK government restrictions. With the ongoing pandemic, this new date remains subject to final confirmation.”

Cinemas in England are, in theory, allowed to reopen this weekend, on 4 July, with Odeon currently planning to stick to this date. At the time of writing, the Vue chain is sticking with a 10 July reopening date.

The world’s largest chain of cinemas, AMC, announced overnight that it, too, would delay reopening in the US from 15 July until the end of month. About 450 of AMC’s sites in the US are now expected to reopen on 30 July, and the company has said it hopes most of its 600 cinemas will be operational by early August.

New York is among US states yet to allow cinemas to reopen.
New York is among US states yet to allow cinemas to reopen. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

However, some key US territories, such New York City and Los Angeles, are yet to pass legislation permitting such a reopening, and other states have again shuttered businesses over the past few days following fears accelerated reopenings have led to an increase in infections.

Both AMC and Cineworld have outlined plans for new safety, hygiene and cleaning protocols on their premises. A backlash to the news that patrons would not be required nor encouraged to wear face coverings prompted U-turns from both companies, with all AMC venues and Regal cinemas now making masks mandatory.

However, no such requirement is currently in place at any UK cinema. The Cineworld Action Group, which represents staff at the chain, recently launched a petition in which they called for such a measure to be introduced.