Two United Kingdom cinema chains are hoping to raise the curtain at movie theaters by mid-July to begin to recoup losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Times reported.
Tim Richards, CEO of Vue International, a London-based chain with 228 cinemas in 10 countries, told the news service he is highly confident its screens would be open on July 17 for the premiere of “Tenet.”
NME.com reports Christopher Nolan’s new $200 million action thriller follows a secret agent played by John David Washington (from “BlacKkKlansman”) tasked with preventing World War III.
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said a reopening of cinemas by the end of June was very realistic. Cineworld operates 787 theaters in 10 countries.
But any opening will depend on patrons who feel safe to go back to the new normal.
Vue recently reopened its cinemas in Taiwan where it was checking customers’ temperatures upon arrival.
Richards said safety would be assured for patrons because they are operating at 20 percent of capacity, the number of people coming through could be controlled by staggering screening times and requiring online ticketing before arrival.
“People have been cooped up for so long I think everyone is desperate to get out,” Richards told FT.
But Timothy Mulligan, research director at Midia Research, said he is not so sure.
“Can we really expect a population that has been told for two months how dangerous things are to suddenly go back into a confined space with strangers for two hours?” he said.
Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, told The Guardian his trade group has made assurances to government regulators on the safeguards cinemas would take to protect audiences and staff upon reopening.
Clapp said the proposed safety measures include compulsory seating capacity limits, staggered screening times, contactless ticketing and enhanced hygiene measures, such as more frequent cleaning of movie theaters and widespread sanitization stations.
A PYMNTS survey found much will have to happen to make them feel safe to resume their daily activities.
While one in five respondents say they want federal and state governments to give them the OK to return to life as normal, 49 percent of all consumers say a COVID-19 vaccine will give them the confidence to resume normal activities.