Odeon has announced that it will reduce opening hours at a quarter of its cinemas across the UK and Ireland due to low customer footfall.
The chain confirmed that 30 of its 120 cinemas will shut between Monday and Thursday after business has been slow to recover following the national lockdown.
Delays on the release of new films this year has seen cinemas struggle to tempt film fans back to the big screen, forcing Odeon to switch to a temporary weekend-only model at a quarter of its sites.
The AMC-owned chain will now open between Friday and Sunday from 30 locations as of 9 October 2020.
Odeon contacted members of its Limitless Loyalty scheme last week to notify them of the changes, and it is understood the announcement was made prior to MGM and Universal’s decision to delay the latest James Bond film from November this year to April 2021.
The chain, which employs 5,500 people, has not confirmed if there will be any job cuts as a result of the temporary reduced hours.
The full list of cinemas that will operate on reduced hours is yet to be announced.
A struggling industry
The news comes after Cineworld announced it is temporarily closing its UK and US venues, impacting 45,000 jobs.
All Cineworld cinemas in the UK will close from Thursday 8 October, with the company stating that the delay of film releases by studios was a major factor in its decision. The company has not yet given a date for the reopening of its 663 cinemas, which include 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK.
Chief executive of Cineworld, Mooky Greidinger, said, “Without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of Covid-19.
"Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”
However, on 5 October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to return to cinemas, stating that people should go out, “enjoy themselves and support” movie theatres.