Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that all COVID-19 restrictions will lift on July 19th, including social distancing that prevented cinemas from running at full capacity.
Whilst the announcement will be officially confirmed next week (July 12th), it has been said that the entertainment industry can finally start to make a recovery as nightclubs, concert halls, theatres and cinemas can run at full capacity indoors.
This is a major change for the industry and one that is needed to save the summer’s Box Office. To put the numbers into perspective, the opening weekend for Fast 9 came to just over $13 million whilst in 2018 The Fate of the Furious made just under $30 million in its opening weekend.
Films that will hope to capitalise off the newly announced full capacity include Black Widow (opening June 7th), Space Jam: A New Legacy (opening June 16th), and The Suicide Squad (opening June 30th).
Commenting on the announcement by Johnson, UK Cinema Association Chief Executive Phil Clapp reassured fans that cinemas will continue to make sure that customers feel safe entering the venue, in a statement acquired by Deadline: “We will continue to work with the government and our members to ensure that the big screen experience remains a safe and enjoyable one, something repeated public surveys have shown is recognised by the overwhelming majority of cinema-goers. As a result, we expect some safeguards – such as safety screens, provision of hand sanitisers and the implementation of enhanced cleaning regimes – to remain in place at many sites.”
It is expected that the rest of the UK will announce their strategies for exiting lockdown soon, including the relaxation of social distancing and capacity in cinemas.