COVID-19: Odeon confirms plan to reopen 'vast majority' of UK cinemas on 17 May

4 May 2021, 19:48 | Updated: 4 May 2021, 21:04

Cinema chain Odeon has confirmed plans to open the "vast majority" of its screens in the UK on 17 May as lockdown rules ease.

Sites from Liverpool One to London's Leicester Square will be among the more than 100 set to resume showings as indoor venues are allowed to reopen.

Film releases pencilled in for this year include the latest James Bond instalment, No Time To Die, at the end of September - after repeated delays due to cinema closures during the pandemic - and Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.

Odeon said that in addition to new releases it would be showing a selection of "modern and classic titles".

Rivals Cineworld and Showcase have already said they plan to reopen in May.

Odeon has more than 120 cinemas in the UK and Ireland.

It will open 92 in England, 10 in Scotland and six in Wales on 17 May with one in Northern Ireland following on 24 May and 11 in the Republic of Ireland on 7 June.

Cinemas will not be allowed to fill up, with some seats kept unoccupied in order to meet social distancing rules.

Show start times will be staggered to try to reduce queues and cash will no longer be accepted.

Carol Welch, managing director of Odeon Cinemas Group UK, said: "We've all missed the magic that the cinema brings to movie watching, and we know our guests are excited about coming back."

Oden said most of its 3,560 UK cinema staff had been furloughed during lockdown and there would be a "phased return" for them as venues prepare to reopen.