U.K. Exhibitor Vue to Partially Close Quarter of Cinemas

Tim Richards, CEO Vue International
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tim Richards, CEO Vue International

The news comes after Odeon announced a similar weekend-only arrangement, and Cineworld shuttered all its site.

U.K.-based cinema chain Vue is set to close a quarter of its sites during the week, joining rival British exhibition giants Cineworld and Odeon, which have both announced shutterings in response to the decision by studios to delay major film releases.

The chain — led by CEO Tim Richards — is to close 21 out of its 87 sites from Tuesday through Thursday, it revealed on Monday, saying that the move was to "ensure that our business is financially well-placed to withstand the uncertainty ahead." The closures will start next week.

"Our belief in the future of this industry is unshaken," Vue — which reopened all its cinemas across U.K. and Europe over the summer — said in a statement. "We came into this pandemic in a very strong position after a record 2019 and a record start to 2020, and we are looking forward to returning to full steam as soon as Hollywood studios start releasing the content which audiences are clamoring for."

Last week, Cineworld — the world's second-biggest chain behind AMC — sparked headlines and industry fears after it temporarily closed all of its Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the U.K., and Regal cinemas in the U.S. Odeon later announced that it would be closing a quarter of its U.K. sites during the week.

The decisions came off the back of James Bond title No Time to Die being pushed back to April 2021. But this was quickly followed with the news that Black Widow and Dune would also moved to next year, while Pixar's Soul has since been taken off the theatrical calendar altogether and will now premiere on Disney+.