Following news earlier this week that UK exhibitor Cineworld was delaying its re-opening plans in England three weeks to July 31 – a decision that also applies to its U.S. arm Regal – fellow Brit chain Vue has fallen in line and is also now aiming for July 31.
Key to these decisions is the film slate, which is proving to be a moveable feast. This week, Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged pushed in the UK to July 31 from its previous July 17 berth. That followed news that Tenet had moved to August 12 and Mulan had gone to August 21. At this moment, with virus cases spiking in parts of the U.S. and the UK experiencing a rocky repealing of its lockdown, it seems very likely those could shift again.
As things stand, the UK’s other two major multiplex chains, Odeon and Showcase, say they are still planning to begin opening venues from this weekend.
A Vue spokesperson said today that delays to key titles were behind the decision, sending the following statement to Deadline just now:
“Having taken comprehensive steps to safeguard our staff and customers, Vue is ready to welcome back customers to its UK cinemas to enjoy the escapism of the big screen experience. We know from successfully re-opening cinemas across Europe – including some 70 sites in Germany, Denmark, Holland, Lithuania, Poland and Italy – that audiences after lockdown are itching to enjoy the big screen experience again, with the added reassurance of rigorous new operating protocols and appropriate physical distancing.
“We also want to offer a great choice of content for the big screen experience and, despite having many classic films and recent releases lined up to whet the appetite of cinema audiences this summer, the worldwide rescheduling of the release dates of Mulan and Tenet has prompted us to review our opening dates.
“Under this revised plan, we will begin a phased reopening of our cinemas in the UK from July 31 rather than July 10. From the moment we reopen, customers will be met with a host of quality classics including the 10th anniversary edition of Chris Nolan’s Inception and George Lucas’s Empire Strikes Back, as well as popular event cinema such as National Theatre Live’s critically acclaimed Fleabag. This line up will be complemented by the eagerly awaited launch of major new titles such as Tenet and Mulan, which are now due in mid-August.
“Cinema has gone from strength to strength in recent years and after a record start to 2020 we are committed to bringing back the cinema experience as quickly and safely as possible.”
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