The cinema chain are the first to unveil a date for reopening in the UK, alongside a new theatrical exclusivity deal with Warner Bros.
Cineworld, the world’s second-largest cinema chain, have officially announced plans to welcome UK punters back to the big screen in May, in accordance with the current government guidelines. As per the COVID roadmap, cinemas in the UK are permitted to reopen on 17 May. While Cineworld is the first to unveil plans, the remaining chains are yet to announce their own dates.
This good news also comes alongside another potentially game-changing industry announcement: Cineworld have signed a multi-year agreement with Warner Bros., whereby the studio's films will have a period of exclusivity in cinemas before coming to streaming platforms. Under this deal, which will take effect in 2022, films can show exclusively on Cineworld screens for 31 days (or 45 if they reach an agreed upon box office threshold) in the UK before becoming available to rent online.
Meanwhile, the cinema chain will open its doors in the US from April. The much-anticipated blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong will be the first film to make its debut in the reopened Regal theatres, paving the way for other, long delayed big-budget movies such as Bond outing No Time to Die and the new adaptation of Dune.
For the time being, UK audiences will have to settle for watching Godzilla facing off against Kong on the small screen, with a VOD release currently scheduled for 1 April. After 2020 became the worst year for cinema-going on record, these announcements certainly feel like a light at the end of a very exhausting lockdown tunnel.