Odeon Cinemas has confirmed it plans to close some of its sites during weekdays, opening them only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
A representative for Odeon tells Yahoo that ‘around one quarter’ of its branches would be moving to weekend viewings only. The chain currently operates 100 cinemas and over 850 screens in the UK.
The news follows the announcement by Cineworld that it would closing all of its UK sites ‘temporarily’ from Thursday.
The Odeon changes were announced to its Limitless customers via email over the weekend. The message told its monthly subscribers that the cinema chain would be ‘temporarily reducing the opening hours’ of certain sites.
Odeon cites the ‘ongoing delays to the release of many new films’ as a reason for reducing its opening hours. The announcement followed the delay of the James Bond film No Time to Die which was delayed on Friday from November to April 2021.
Cineworld’s current troubles partially stem from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which forced it to shut sites across the UK and other key markets in March.
Although sites reopened in July, and even earlier in other regions, social distancing rules and a reluctance from studios to release big-ticket films hampered audience figures.
On Monday, Cineworld said that, without these releases, it has been unable to provide UK and US audiences “with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of Covid-19”.
Watch: Cineworld closures to impact jobs
Major studios, such as Disney, announced heavily-delayed schedules or even pulled some films from cinema release entirely, with Disney opting to release its live-action Mulan film on its own streaming platform instead.
The decision to temporarily close of all of its 127 UK theatres is “shocking” but “not surprising” given the current climate, cinemagoers have said.
Tom Robinson, 23, from Ackworth, West Yorkshire, told the PA news agency he thought people had remained cautious about attending the cinema.
He said: “It’s a bit shocking. I didn’t expect to hear it happening really, but I could see it with all the coronavirus.
“People are going to be a lot more wary going out into large places where people congregate like the cinema. It’s not surprising but it feels surprising.”