UK cinema chain Odeon moves to weekend-only model

Curtains closed at movie theatres as Hollywood holds back blockbusters

FILE PHOTO: People take their seats inside the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square cinema, on the opening day of the film "Tenet", amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in London, Britain, August 26, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo
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British cinema chain Odeon will shut a quarter of its cinemas during the week as audiences fail to show up.

About 30 of the cinema’s 120 branches across the UK and Ireland will move to a weekend-only model from Friday with a lack of Hollywood blockbusters blamed for stripped-back film schedules.

The news comes after cinema giant Cineworld shut all of its cinemas in the UK and US, affecting about 45,000 workers, because the big screen had become "like a grocery shop without food".

UK work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey suggested Cineworld staff who lose their jobs should consider becoming care workers.

“In terms of the sort of help we can provide, it may be that people who are used to doing customer service, aspects of hospitality, we can actually draw out those skills and make them consider a role in social care,” she told LBC.

Odeon's decision came after the release of the next James Bond instalment No Time to Die - tipped to be the UK's highest-grossing film this year - was pushed back to April 2 next year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged people to return to cinemas, saying he would "encourage people to go out to the cinema, enjoy themselves and support" the industry.

Odeon blamed the lack of any new movies to show on the big screen for shutting its outlets during the week.

The company said: “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."
Vue is also reportedly considering the temporary closure of some of its venues.

Cineworld boss Mooky Greidinger said cinemagoers were simply staying away because there were no new releases and he felt like he had no choice but to close.

He said Christopher Nolan's sci-fi thriller Tenet was the only major release this year.

Fast & The Furious and Marvel's Black Widow have also been held back by Hollywood studios for release after coronavirus restrictions are loosened.

“We didn't have the goods,” Mr Greidinger told Sky News.

"After the Tenet release, which was really the most significant movie that was released at the end of August and early September, movies continued to move on schedule.

"[But there] was an issue in the US market because some markets there, mainly New York, did not open, the studios hesitated and kept on postponing the movies.”

He added: “We are like a grocery shop with no food. We had to take this decision”