Cinema chain blames adjustments to movie release schedules, which include a delay to Disney’s Mulan.
Cineworld now expects to reopen its cinemas on July 31st, rather than the originally planned date of July 10th. Cinemas in England have been given the go ahead to welcome back audiences from July 4th, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the easing of the coronavirus lockdown. However, the company cautioned: “Upcoming reopenings remain subject to final clarifications and confirmation in relation to various government Covid-19 restrictions”.
Following major adjustments to the schedule of upcoming movie releases this summer, cinemas are also facing the challenge of what to programme when they do reopen, with those films that are still expecting to have a 2020 summer release pushed back to at least August.
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said: “Cineworld looks forward to welcoming 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.”
Only a limited number of major titles for children remain slated to be released this year, with Trolls World Tour and Scoob! moved to digital release, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run poised to follow suit in 2021.
Disney has recently delayed the theatrical release of Mulan for a third time, a movie on which many cinemas were pinning hopes of salvaging a summer season. The live-action remake is now slated to debut on Aug 21st. A statement from Disney said: “While the pandemic has changed our release plans for Mulan and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance. Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs — on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”
Mulan was positioned to be the first major film to reignite cinema-going, however industry insiders suggest that Disney has been reluctant for Mulan to be the test case for new movies amid the pandemic. The film was expected to strongly resonate in China, but cinemas there remain closed, without a known reopening date.
Showcase Cinemas said it will reopen on July 4th, while Picturehouse has announced plans to reopen on July 10th. In Scotland, cinemas can reopen from July 15th.