CINEWORLD has confirmed it plans to reopen its 128 UK branches in May following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in the UK.
It has also struck a deal with Warner Bros to screen new films from the franchise 31 days ahead of streaming services when they open again.
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Cineworld plans to reopen cinemas from May 17Credit: PA
In Scotland, they can open again from April 26, and in the first week of April at the earliest in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The chain, which operates under the Cineworld and Picturehouse brands, hopes the exclusive Warner Bros deal will entice film buffs back into screens.
Cineworld: Coronavirus rules
WHEN cinema screens reopen in the UK after lockdown, they will have to implement Covid-secure rules to keep viewers safe.
Cineworld is yet to confirm exactly what this means for the chain, but these are the rules customers had to follow when they reopened last summer:
- Social distancing from other households
- Staggered film start times
- Perspex screens put up at concessions
- Increased hand washing and cleaning
- Viewers encouraged to use e-tickets and contactless payments
- Staff will wear PPE, including face masks
The tie-up also includes an extension of up to 45 days to show films ahead of streaming services if a specific box office threshold is met.
The cinemas will reopen with strict Covid-secure rules in place, including social distancing, reduced ticketing and staggered start times.
Chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: “With the health and safety of our customers, staff, and communities as our top priority, we continue to take all the necessary precautions and abide by our CinemaSafe guidelines to confidently provide a safe and comfortable experience.”
Mr Greidinger added it will be monitoring the state of play in the UK while its phased reopening in the US is underway.
Cineworld has 45,000 employees around the world.
Since October, 5,000 out of its 5,500 UK workforce have been furloughed, which sees the government pay 80% of wages.
It was believed to be “on the brink” after shares to drop by 2.5%, having already lost £1.3billion globally due to the pandemic.
Mr Greidinger is inline for a £65million bonus in three year’s time if certain targets are met.
The bonus – which is part of a pot for executives worth up to £208 million – had been described as “excessive”, especially since the company has taken advantage of taxpayer-funded government schemes to stay afloat.
Cineworld screens reopened in July last year, following the first coronavirus national lockdown.
At the time, customers were encouraged to pre-book tickets and use contactless payments to help reduced the risk of spreading the virus.
However, the chain allowed walk-ins, unlike rival Vue, which only allowed customers to watch a film if they booked online.
Drive-in cinemas in England can open even earlier, from April 12.