Cineworld has delayed the reopening of its UK and US cinemas by more than two weeks to coincide with the release of upcoming films.
It had announced in May that it would be reopening all its UK cinemas on 10 July, but will now be welcoming back customers from 31 July instead.
A number of major releases have been pushed back over the past few weeks until August, including Disney’s big-budget live action remake of Mulan and Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated blockbuster, Tenet, due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Cineworld said in a statement on Tuesday that it was postponing the cinema reopenings “in line with recent adjustments to the schedule of upcoming movie releases”.
Screenings will resume with enhanced health and safety measures in place, including contactless payments, sanitisation procedures, new social distancing protocols and seating capacity limits.
It added it would continue to reopen cinemas in its other markets as previously stated on 16 June, “subject to final clarifications and confirmation in relation to various government COVID-19 restrictions”.
Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “Movie fans around the world continue to be excited by the strong slate of summer films ahead, including Tenet, Mulan, A Quiet Place Part II, Unhinged, The Broken Hearts Gallery, Bill & Ted Face the Music, Greenland, and Antebellum as well as a special re-release of Christopher Nolan’s Inception on IMAX.
“Cineworld looks forward to welcoming these moviegoers back to our cinemas next month and believes that they will once again be immersed in the timeless theatrical experience they know and love.”
The experience will however be a very different one to that which cinemagoers have become used to.
Under guidelines issued by the UK Cinema Association in preparation for safe reopening, customers will be asked to use contactless payment where possible, while booking online will be encouraged.
Other social distancing measures include the installation of plastic screens at “key contact points”.
Film schedules will be staggered to allow cleaning of auditoriums between screenings and to avoid crowding in corridors – and there will be no self-service pick ‘n’ mix.
In Scotland, cinemas can reopen from 15 July, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.