Vue, Odeon and Cineworld reopening plans explained

Ian Sandwell
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Digital Spy

UK cinemas have been closed since mid-March due to the current global situation, but the first steps are being taken for them to reopen.

On May 11, the government published guidance that confirmed cinemas won't be able to open again until July 4 at the earliest, with cinemas included in step three of plans to start reopening businesses.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the trade body UK Cinema Association, said that cinemas will "respond accordingly" to any "wider public health considerations" as they plan to reopen in time for Tenet, which is still set for release on July 17.

But what are the UK's main cinema chains currently planning when it comes to reopening? Here's all of the plans we know so far, explained.

Cineworld

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While it hasn't confirmed July 4 as the reopening date, Cineworld does expect to reopen its cinemas in July.

"Cineworld currently anticipates that government restrictions related to cinemas will be lifted in each of its territories by July,” the company said in a statement to investors on May 28 (via The Guardian).

"Subject to this and confirmation of the schedule for film releases, Cineworld anticipates the reopening of all of its cinemas in July."

The statement did not include any specifics of the social distancing measures expected to be seen in their cinemas when they reopen, but did explain that they have "put in place procedures to ensure a safe and enjoyable cinema experience for its employees and customers".

These plans would also include 26 Picturehouse venues across the UK and Ireland as Cineworld runs those cinemas as well.

While we don't have a specific date, Cineworld aims to reopen before the planned release of Tenet on July 17 and Mulan on July 24, barring any release date changes.

Vue

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Vue Cinemas has confirmed it is aiming to reopen on July 4 with various measures in place, as well as enhanced cleaning and employee-protection protocols.

In a statement, the company has said that the measures include "physically isolating family groups through our online booking systems" and "staggering film times to maintain social distancing and operate responsibly".

Vue Cinemas boss Tim Richards told The Telegraph that the company has taken deep-cleaning protocols from when the SARS outbreak hit the company's cinemas in Taiwan between 2002 and 2004.

He added that it'll be a "slow burn" to get cinema attendances back to normal, but the cinematic experience will be the same, with the only notable change being "pre-packed pick 'n' mix".

Odeon

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While Odeon Cinemas hasn't officially announced its reopening plans, the chain did confirm to Deadline that it's aiming to reopen in "early July".

Whether this is the July 4 date remains to be seen, but the company added that reopening depends on government regulations and having a "strong line-up of films in place for our guests to enjoy".

"We are working closely with national cinema associations and governments as we introduce additional health and safety protocols across all of our sites," said an Odeon spokesperson.

"These new protocols have been introduced to reassure our guests and ensure that they can enjoy the cinema experience in the safest and most controlled environment."

Showcase

Photo credit: Showcase cinemas

Showcase Cinemas has confirmed that it's "working towards" being able to open its cinemas on July 4.

As with the other chains, the company has been working with the UK Cinema Association and relevant authorities to ensure the "comfort and safety of guests and employees alike" when it reopens.

Showcase's measures include staggered film start times and a restriction on capacities per screen to "maintain social distancing requirements", as well as "contactless payments throughout, Perspex shields at all till points, and wipes and hand sanitiser stations located throughout our buildings".

The company has also created a "comprehensive new cleaning programme and employee PPE requirements" to ensure the "health and safety of everyone in [its] cinemas".

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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