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Boost for box office as English cinemas to resume full capacity screenings from 19 July

Movies with licensing potential lined up over the next few months include Space Jam 2, The Suicide Squad, No Time to Die and Dune.

Hopes are high that the box office can begin to build back to normal following yesterday’s (5 July) announcement that England’s final stage of lockdown lifting is set to go ahead as planned.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he expects social distancing rules to be scrapped from 19 July, meaning that English cinemas will be permitted to resume 100% capacity screenings. Mask wearing will also no longer be compulsory.

The new rules are subject to a final review on 12 July.

The move should prove to be good news for a host of movies with licensed potential or existing consumer products programmes which are due to arrive over the summer and into autumn.

These include the eagerly James Bond movie No Time to Die, as well as Space Jam 2, The Suicide Squad, the G.I Joe spin-off Snake Eyes, PAW Patrol: The Movie, Clifford the Big Red Dog, The Addams Family 2, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, Dune and Ron’s Gone Wrong among others.

”The current social distancing requirements and capacity caps in place at cinemas in England have undoubtedly presented significant financial and operational challenges to many of our members, so we are pleased they will now be given the opportunity to respond more flexibly to audience demand,” said Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association on Screen Daily. ”We hope to see similar announcements in the other UK nations shortly.”

Cinemas in England have been operating at 50% capacity since re-opening on 17 May. Screen Daily reports that box office performance has been strong in this context, with highlights including Universal’s Fast & Furious 9 setting a £4.8 million record opening weekend for a film since the pandemic began last month, and Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2 grossing £16.4 million as of 27 June.

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