Brussels Attacks: City Cinemas Close Following Twin Bombings
European security was on high alert after Tuesday's terror attacks but Brussels has not been put on lockdown, as it was following the Paris shootings in November.
Cinemas across the Belgium capital of Brussels have voluntarily shut down, citing security concerns following the twin bombing attacks in the city on Tuesday.
But, so far, Brussels has not introduced a citywide lockdown, as it did following the November shooting attacks in Paris, when authorities were worried about militants still at large in the city.
Tuesday's attacks, in fact, came four days after the capture in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam, the man suspected of being the ring leader behind the Paris attacks. But Belgian federal prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said it was still too early to make the link between the Paris attacks and the twin bombings on Tuesday, which struck the Brussels airport and one of the city's metro stations, killing at least 31 people and wounding 187.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, Jan Runge, CEO of the International Union of Cinemas, Europe's largest cinema owners association, which is based in Brussels, noted that Belgium was now at security level 4, the highest alert possible.
“Which means that there will be increased military and police presence in public spaces, including, of course, cinemas," he said. "But there will be no lockdown of the city as was the case in November 2015.”
Runge added that cinemas in Brussels could reopen as early as Wednesday, “depending on future developments and security assessments.”
Warner Bros. will be closely watching those developments. The studio is rolling out its superhero tentpole Batman v. Superman this week. The Ben Affleck-Henry Cavill starrer is set to bow in Belgium and France on Wednesday and roll out across the rest of Europe this weekend.
Warner Bros. went ahead with the London premiere of Batman v. Superman on Tuesday, but canceled the red carpet at the event.
Across Europe, security has not been noticeably heightened, at cinemas and elsewhere, following Tuesday's bombings. No cinemas outside Brussels have reported security issues or announced temporary closures.
Barring further developments, Tuesday's attacks are unlikely to impact cinemagoing or box office in Europe. The November attacks in Paris did not noticeably affect the European release of Spectre or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2.
The Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival on Tuesday confirmed it will start next week as planned. The genre fest is set to open March 29 with a screening of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.