Cineworld to reopen UK cinemas with social distancing measures on 10 July
Cinema chain Cineworld today revealed it will reopen UK cinemas from 10 July as it hopes blockbuster releases including Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and Disney’s live action Mulan will attract wary punters to its screens.
Cineworld’s UK cinemas will reopen after more than three months of lockdown after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all non-essential British shops to close on 23 March to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The chain’s shares surged 6.4 per cent to 84p in early trading after the announcement.
Cineworld said it has introduced “several operational changes” and implemented technology to make the cinema “safe but enjoyable”.
New measures include social distancing within cinema auditoriums, though Cineworld did not say whether customers must sit two metres apart.
It has also changed film schedules to manage queues and avoid crowds in Cineworld chain lobbies. And when cinemas reopen they will have enhanced cleanliness and sanitation procedures.
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said: “We are thrilled to be back and encouraged by recent surveys that show that many people have missed going to the movie theatre.
“With a strong slate confirmed for the coming weeks, including among others Tenet, Mulan, A Quiet Place Part II, Wonder Women 1984, Black Widow, Bond, Soul, Top Gun Maverick and many more, the entire Cineworld team remains committed to being ‘the best place to watch a movie’.”
Cineworld’s US branches will also reopen on 10 July, after Poland on 3 July, Czech Republic and Slovakia on 26 June, Israel on 9 July, Bulgaria on 3 July and Hungary and Romania set for the week of 3 July.
The announcement comes just a day after the movie theatre chain pulled out of a £1.6bn deal to buy rival Cineplex in Canada.
Cineworld said Cineplex suffered a “material adverse effect” under the terms of the deal that allows Cineworld to bow out. But Cineplex accused its former buyer of unlawfully abandoning the deal, with its finances under pressure from coronavirus.
“The arrangement agreement explicitly excludes any ‘outbreaks of illness or other acts of God’ from the definition of material adverse effect,” Cineplex retorted yesterday.
Run by Israel’s Greidinger family, Cineworld has made a string of acquisitions but has struggled with a high level of debt since it bought Regal in early 2018.
The chain clinched a $110m (£90m) cash boost in late May as it targeted a July reopening date. It increased its revolving credit facility to do so, and also told investors it was eligible to apply for a $45m government coronavirus loan.