Before Covid-19, the greatest drama that came with a trip to the cinema was what size of popcorn to go for. Now, in the coronavirus era, it is unclear exactly how we will return to the plush seats and big screens, at least for the foreseeable.
The breadth of films that have been postponed as a result of the pandemic will bring a tear to the most avid cinema goers’ eye. From the live action Mulan, to the latest Bond instalment, plans to release this year’s most anticipated films have been put on hold.
According to the CEO and founder of Vue, Tim Richards, the current hope is that the release of films such as Tenet "will start a concerted effort with the studios to drive audiences into our cinemas again. When it’s released, there’s not going to be much else around it, so I imagine it’s going to get a huge amount of screen time. It’s looking like it could be a very good move for Warner Bros to do it.”
This is by no means the first time Richards has operated during a pandemic. Indeed, he notes that Vue “have the benefit of an Asian operation in Taiwan, and we operated through the SARS epidemic in 2002-4. We learnt a lot, which we’re using today for our pre-opening and our operating protocols.”
Vue cinemas in Taiwan have not closed and are adopting a range of measures to ensure their customers can watch films safely. This includes the introduction of temperature checks, which may be adopted in the UK in due course. The company’s considerably growth last year has allowed them to maintain all of their employees, 5,000 of whom live in the UK alone.
In spite of present circumstances, Richards remains optimistic. He concludes: “The one certainty is that when the quarantines are lifted, there’s going to be a pent-up demand for out-of-home entertainment like there never has been before.
“We’re social beings – we want to enjoy a collective social experience. And what better way?”