Odeon to join Cineworld in closing its doors after the delay to ‘No Time To Die‘
The delay to the James Bond film ‘No Time To Die‘ last week, moving it out of its proposed November slot into April of 2021 is the straw that has broken the UK cinemas’ backs. After the rumor yesterday that the Cineworld brand would be closing all its sites in the UK and the US due to the lack of new content coming out for them to screen, it has now been confirmed that as of Thursday of this week, the company will shut the doors until a slew of new content including big-budget blockbusters becomes available.
In the United Kingdom, the company employs 5,500 workers and they now face an uncertain future. It remains to be seen if the company continues to pay its staff wages during this self-enforced shutdown or if the employees will have to take their places at the welfare offices around the country. The same goes for workers in the United States. No information has been forthcoming from the company regarding this important issue or whether the employees will still have their positions when the cinemas decide to reopen their doors once more.
After Cineworld made their official announcement, the AMC-Theatres-owned Odeon cinema chain in the UK issued an official statement announcing that it will now operate a weekend-only model as of Friday with a quarter of its sites being completely closed during the week. The company has been reported to have emailed their customer database late last week with the news of the change. The company said in a statement:
“We look forward to reopening full-time when the big blockbusters return. But in the meantime, we promise to bring you a great choice of big-screen films to enjoy at the weekends”
This news hasn’t been received well with the patrons who pay for and own an Odeon cinema card with many deciding to cancel their memberships with immediate effect. Many have said that they feel sorry and upset to be canceling their memberships but cannot justify paying out for the card every month when the cinema has nothing to show them and for them to actually watch. Odeon operates 120 cinemas across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
With Cineworld closing their doors and Odeon now operating weekends only opening, the CEO of the Vue cinema chain, Tim Richards, has stated that he cannot rule out closing some of the companies sites, claiming “we’re being forced right now to look at options”. The delay to ‘No Time To Die‘ has almost certainly been the deciding factor in the decisions made by the cinemas. The lack of entertainment becoming available is sounding like the death knell to the cinema industry and with the almost certain probability that both ‘Dune‘ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ won’t open this year and instead join the rest of the 2020 cinematic entertainment in moving to slots in 2021, the calendar is now almost empty. ‘The Croods 2‘ and ‘Death On The Nile‘ are still slated to open in November and December respectively but whether or not they do is still up for question.
The Prince Charles Cinema in London’s West End is currently still going to reopen on October 13th but the cinema is dedicated to showing classic films and retrospective seasons instead of new releases (although they do show some from time to time) and as such, will give the audience at least some entertainment to view. Besides, the London Film Festival will be showing some of the films inside the esteemed cinema and as such, there is validity in them reopening their doors. Their Halloween offerings and their upcoming Christmas program are also to their benefit. But that’s if they are allowed to stay open. With the UK Government’s current implementation of all venues closing at 10 pm, the cinema will have to make adjustments to their plans and their programming to concur with the latest legislation and to avoid a fine of up to £10,000.
With this disturbing news coming from most of the UK’s big cinema chains, the question of whether the cinemas will still be able to reopen when the big releases become available again has reared its head. It is almost certain that it will be late January at the earliest before Cineworld reopens its doors. Will that be too late for the industry? And more importantly, will that be fair on the hard-working staff of ALL the big chains to be on retainer for that long without the guarantee that they will still have a job when they do reopen? Time will invariably tell.
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Carl Roberts is a Senior Entertainment/Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!