What’s reopening, when and how much tickets will cost.
Cinemas are allowed to reopen from 4th July 2020, though not all will be doing it. And when they do it’ll be a very different experience.
Social distancing will be in force, with families and couples sat together and guaranteed empty seats between groups. On one hand this means there will be fewer seats available to buy, but also means you won’t be stuck next to a noisy stranger.
Booking online is encouraged to minimise interaction with staff, while hygiene precautions will also mean no pick and mix. Prepacked snacks will still be on sale and some might still offer popcorn (personally I’d stay clear).
And to start off there won’t be many new releases. Big titles such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenent has been pushed back to 12th August, while Mulan will be the week after (and of course that could change again).
So you’ll have to make do with classic movies such as The Empire Strikes Back, recent hits such as La La Land and the films which opened just before doors closed in March such as Pixar’s Onward.
Which cinemas will reopen and when?
Not all cinemas will be open on the 4th, and even within the same chain you might find some venues open and others closed. Here’s a quick guide to what’s happening, but you’ll need to check with your local to be sure.
This week Cineworld said its reopening has been delayed until 31st July 2020 as there aren’t any big releases to screen.
The Curzon Canterbury will open on the 17th July and Curzon Mayfair from 24th July. The rest will be staggered through July and August.
Six venues will open on the 4th July. Others are still to be announced.
Odeon cinemas will open on different dates throughout July, ten on the 4th and another 88 by the 16th, and the rest afterwards.
The Picturehouse chain is doing the same as its parent company Cineworld and not reopening until the end of July.
Half the venues will open on 4th July and most of the rest on 10th July. Plans for a handful, including Glasgow and Manchester are still to be announced.
None of The Light venues will be reopening just yet.
Vue was due to have a phased reopening of its doors from 10th July, but it’s just announced it’s pushing it back until 31st July.
How to save money on your cinema visit
Check the price at the cinema
Let’s face it, a lot of people aren’t going to be keen to visit a cinema just yet. And on top of that there won’t be any big new releases. So I wouldn’t be surprised if ticket prices are lower during July to entice you back in.
I’ve checked a few Odeon screenings across the country and £5.75 seems to be the going price, even at Luxe venues and at the weekend.
Before you buy cheap tickets from other places (more on that in a second), make sure you check exactly how much you’ll be charged by going direct. There’s a good chance you could pay less going to the cinema’s own website or box office.
Check for special offers
There are usually a number of ways to bring down the price of cinema tickets – but not all of them have said if they’ll restart from the 4th July. I’d hope some will be reactivated quickly, but others might wait until Cineworld, Vue and others open at the end of the month.
Here’s the latest of the main offers, and I’ll update this list as more information is released.
Free tickets with banks
You can claim six free cinema tickets by opening a Club Lloyds current account. These are valid at Odeon and Vue. The Halifax Reward account gives you a ticket to Vue every month, though there are more requirements to be eligible.
2-4-1 tickets with Meerkat Movies
Meerkat Movies should still give you 2-4-1 discounts on a Tuesday or Wednesday. If you don’t have this Compare the Market perk you can still take advantage of the hack by buying a single day UK travel insurance – but the cost has jumped up from around £1 to £3.50.
Discounted tickets from Tastecard
At the moment, cinema offers haven’t returned to Tastecard. When it does you’ll be able to get discounts of up to 40% at most of the major chains. You can currently get a 90-day free trial.
2-4-1 Odeon with Times +
The hack to get 2-4-1 Odeon tickets on Saturday, Sunday and Monday via Times + also doesn’t say if it’ll be back from the 4th July. You can currently get a one-month free trial – that also comes with a free movie rental and e-book each month.
Go a different day or time
If prices haven’t been dropped (I checked a couple of Everyman sites which are still charging their standard – and expensive – prices), then you can save by going off-peak.
Each venue will be different, but generally, you’ll pay the most at weekends and in the evenings. Some might have a set day each week which is cheaper.
Bring your own snacks
This is more a health and safety tip than anything, but I’d personally be bringing my own food and drink with me to reduce the chance of cross-contamination. On the plus side, it’ll also be a lot cheaper!
Watch at home
You can of course still watch movies at home. I’m lucky that I invested in a projector and surround sounds system a while back. It’s not the same, nor will watching on your TV be, but I’m in no rush to see a film outside the home for the time being.
You’ll also save a decent amount of cash. Here’s my guide to getting the cheapest movie rentals.
My video from earlier this year sharing my top cinema money saving hacks: