Cinemas will be allowed to reopen across England from Saturday, July 4, when lockdown measures ease - but all will include new socially distanced seating plans and staggered film start times.

When did the cinemas close?

Multiplexes and smaller screens have been closed since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but will now start opening their doors again.

What cinemas have confirmed they are reopening - and when?

  • Showcase Cinemas will reopen their doors on Saturday, July 4.
  • Odeon have confirmed they will begin a phased reopening from Saturday, July 4 - but movie-goers will need to check individual branches for more details.
  • Cineworld and Picturehouse Cinemas are set to reopen on Friday, July 10.
  • So far, nothing has been confirmed by other chains, including Vue and Empire Cinemas - as to when they will return.

What has Cineworld said?

Cineworld, which has about 100 cinemas around the UK, has said it has updated its booking system to ensure social distancing, and adapted its daily movie schedules to manage queues and avoid the build-up of crowds in lobbies.

It has also said it has enhanced cleanliness and sanitation procedures across all sites.

A statement from the chain said: “The health and wellbeing of our customers and employees is our top priority.

“We are following government guidelines in order to make cinema-goers feel as comfortable and safe as possible.

“This includes implementing measures such as: arranging cinemas in a manner that promotes and maintains social distancing, staggering film start and end times, setting up additional hand sanitising stations, undertaking an advanced cleaning programme and providing staff with Covid-19 specific training.

“We will ensure a safe and enjoyable cinematic experience for all our visitors and we remain committed to being the best place to watch a movie.”

The first new films due to be released are expected to be Proxima, starring Eva Green, scheduled for release on July 10, and road rage thriller Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe, which is due for launch on July 17.

What have Showcase Cinemas said?

To welcome back cinemagoers, Showcase Cinemas will be screening a raft of classic films for just £5 a ticket ahead of the release of Disney’s Mulan and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet later in July.

On re-opening the doors to Showcase Cinemas, UK General Manager Mark Barlow said: “We are all really excited about welcoming film fans back to Showcase Cinemas.

“We’ve been busy preparing for our re-opening by making all our sites as Showcase Safe as possible for the comfort of both staff and guests, which has always been our top priority.

"We encourage all our guests to use the hand sanitiser available, regularly wash their hands, wear a face covering and practice social distancing when inside the cinema.

“There are some fantastic films to be released in 2020 and we can’t wait to see people enjoying movies back on the big screen.

"We’ve also brought some classic hits and recent favourites back to remind everyone just how great it is to see them in the cinema.”

What have Picturehouse Cinemas said?

In a statement on Twitter, they said: "Some news! We'll begin to reopen our doors in England on 10 July.

"We can't wait to start showing films on the big screen again.

"We've made some important changes to help keep everyone safe in our cinemas:"

What have Odeon said?

In a statement on their website, Odeon have outlined the new rules for customes: "When you arrive at the cinema, please observe social distancing at all times and avoid waiting around in public areas unless in a queue

"Please wash your hands when appropriate and use our sanitising stations with our compliments

"Please be at your auditorium in good time for your scheduled start time and have your tickets ready for visual inspection

"We have strict guidelines for any of our colleagues who may begin to show early symptoms to stay away from the cinema. We would welcome all of our guests to do the same and stay home if they feel unwell.

"Please follow government guidelines with regards to wearing face coverings."

What films will be released in July?

Christopher Nolan’s latest offering, Tenet, starring Robert Pattinson and John David Washington, is also expected to be released at the end of July.

More than 450 films, including Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Singin’ In The Rain and The Sound Of Music, will be available to cinemas when they reopen to help them entice audiences back.

The films have been collated by the Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) in a document entitled Relaunching Cinema: Content for Recovery.

The list of titles, which also includes 1917, Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood and recent Oscar winner Parasite, is part of the first stage of cross-industry body Cinema First’s coronavirus recovery strategy.

The opening of cinemas will be made subject to guidelines agreed between the UK Cinema Association and Government officials, which are due to be published later this week.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of  the UK Cinema Association, which represents the interests of more than 90% of UK cinema operators, said: “Today’s announcement is hugely welcome not just to cinema operators in England, but also we know to the many regular cinema-goers who can’t wait to get back to enjoying the big screen experience.

“We welcome in particular the acknowledgement implicit in today’s statement of the work the sector has undertaken in reassuring ministers that cinemas in England can reopen safely for audiences and staff members alike.

“While discussions with the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue, today is undoubtedly a significant step forward for the UK cinema sector.”