Odeon has announced that it will reopen 120 of its chains from 17 May 2021, in line with the UK government’s roadmap out of lockdown. As has been the case with many industries, the coronavirus pandemic had a large impact on cinemas as they were forced to close during the various national lockdowns. In December 2020, Odeon’s parent company, AMC Entertainment Holdings, warned that it was running out of cash.
To ensure audience safety, seats in Odeon cinema screens will be limited to comply with social distancing requirements. Cinemagoers will be expected to wear face masks, but will be allowed to remove them when eating or drinking inside screens.
Screening times for films will also be staggered to reduce queues and Odeon cinemas will now only accept contactless payments. Customers have also been encouraged to pre-book cinema seats on Odeon’s website.
As Odeon plans to reopen the ‘vast majority’ of its cinemas, flagship locations including London’s Leicester Square, Birmingham’s Broadway Plaza and Manchester’s Trafford Centre will be open to filmgoers again.
It is hoped that audiences will want to return to the cinema to watch new and upcoming titles such as Marvel’s Black Widow and the previously delayed Bond film, No Time to Die. Additionally, Odeon will screen films that have proven to be popular with critics and awards ceremonies, including Sound of Metal and Nomadland.
Cineworld, a competitor with Odeon, previously announced that it would also reopen its UK cinemas in May. It has struck a deal with film studio Warner Bros to screen titles in its cinemas before they are available to stream. Godzilla vs. Kong will be the first Warner Bros film to premiere on Cineworld screens as per the terms of the deal.