In the latest blow to the UK’s cinema sector, Vue has announced that almost a quarter of its branches will temporarily close for a few days in the middle of the week.
The cinema chain said this was due to a lack of new film releases caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Vue explained that, starting from Monday 12 October, 21 of its branches would close for three days a week, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
A spokesperson for Vue said, “We remain committed to ensuring that Vue has a long-term future, to protecting the livelihoods of our staff and keeping our doors open to ensure cinemas continue to serve the communities they operate in.
“However, from next week, we will be temporarily reducing our opening days to Friday - Monday (inclusive) at 21 of our 87 UK sites to ensure that our business is financially well placed to withstand the uncertainty ahead.
“Our belief in the future of this industry is unshaken. We came into this pandemic in a very strong position after a record 2019 and a record star to 2020, and we are looking forward to returning to full steam as soon as Hollywood studios start releasing the content which audiences are clamouring for.”
‘We have no movies’
Previously, Vue CEO Tim Richards said, “Our problem right now is we have no movies.
“This was a big blow for us. We’re likely going to make it through; I’m concerned about the independents and the small regional operators right now that are going to really struggle, and when they close they may not reopen.”
Richards’ statement came after it was revealed that the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, has been delayed and will now not premiere until April 2021.
Other blockbusters that have been delayed as a result of the pandemic include the likes of Marvel film Black Widow, sci-fi adaptation Dune and dinosaur franchise Jurassic Park: Dominion.
Disney recently announced that its animated feature, Soul, which stars the voice of Jamie Foxx, is not set to be released on its streaming service, Disney+, instead of debuting in cinemas at the end of November as planned.
Which cinemas are affected?
These are the Vue branches that will be operating under reduced hours:
AccringtonAltrinchamBarrowBirkenheadBlackburnCardiffCarmarthenCleveleysDagenhamHull Princes QuayLancasterNewburyPiccadillyRedditchRhylScunthorpeShepherds BushStroudSwanseaWest End (Leicester Square)Wood Green
How have other cinema chains been affected?
Last week, competitor chain Cineworld announced that it would be temporarily closing all of its 128 sites in the UK.
Odeon also confirmed that around 30 of its 120 sites would only operate on the weekends due to the fact that audience figures have been slow to recover.