UK cinemas propose to reopen late-June

Ben Arnold
The Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square in London, Thursday, April 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Cinema chains have proposed a reopening of venues across the country by the end of June, according to the official body representing the industry in the UK.

Cinemas have been shuttered since 18 March, a few days before official lockdown began on 23 March.

But now plans are being formulated for them to reopen, with 'safeguarding' procedures in place to protect movie-goers.

UK Cinema Association chief executive Phil Clapp told Variety: “We’ve made representations to government on the safeguards which UK cinemas would look to have in place for audiences and staff alike upon re-opening, and have asked that consideration be given – with these in mind – to allow cinemas to open by end June.”

He went on to say that cinema owners would be 'led by the government’s understanding of the risk presented by COVID-19 and respond accordingly'.

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Clapp added to Yahoo Movies UK that it 'hopes to be able' to add further details of how cinemas might re-open, and in what capacity, shortly.

Chief Executive, The Cinema Exhibitors' Association Limited Phil Clapp speaks at CinemaCon at Caesars Palace, 2015. (Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage)

Tim Richards, the chief executive of the Vue cinema chain added to the BBC: “We are seeing our markets in Europe opening before ours. We are trying to work with the government to demonstrate we are not like sporting fixtures and pop concerts.

We can control how many people come into our cinemas at any one time - we have the ability to control the exit and entrance.”

Tenet (Credit: Warner Bros)

Titles which might accompany a reopening of UK cinemas include Christopher Nolan's sci-fi crime thriller Tenet, and Disney's big budget, live-action remake of Mulan, both slated for release in July.

But the reopening comes following a high-profile row between the Odeon chain – via its parent company AMC – and Universal Pictures, after the studio released the film Trolls: World Tour direct to VOD rather than delaying its release.

Read more: Odeon bans Universal movies after Trolls snub

As a result of the snub, AMC boss Adam Aron has said that the chain will no longer show Universal movies, which in the UK might include the new Bond film No Time To Die, which is being distributed by Universal.

The prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to make an announcement detailing some easing of the lockdown measures on Sunday.