Following months of pandemic-imposed closure, cinemas are finally able to reopen from this weekend (4 July).
Social distancing measures will be in place, meaning your trip to the multiplex won’t look or feel anything like the normality we all took for granted at the start of the year.
But film fans will no doubt be itching to get out there and then straight back into a big, dark room to watch the latest flicks.
But what exactly will be on?
2020’s film release schedule has been severely impacted by the coronarivus crisis.
Some blockbusters moved to streaming services in place of physical cinemas being able to screen them, while others pushed back their release dates by months in the hopes everything will be up and running again later in the year.
Here’s everything you need to know:
When are cinemas reopening?
While they can reopen from 4 July, many cinemas won’t be opening until a couple of weeks later, as they get their premises ‘Covid-secure’ to prevent further outbreaks of coronavirus.
Even the country’s biggest chains won’t be ready to go by Saturday.
Odeon will be opening 10 choice sites on Saturday 4 July, but their remaining 88 sites will reopen over the subsequent two weeks (check your local cinema’s website for details).
Showcase Cinemas will be opening nine of their venues on 4 July – eight more will follow a week later on Friday 10 July.
Everyman will be able to open six of their branches on 4 July, with the other 27 getting their projectors fired up in the weeks following that; again, check your local’s website.
Vue and Picturehouse Cinemas will be reopening their screens on 10 July, while Curzon plans to unlock the doors on its Canterbury site on Friday 17 July, its Mayfair cinema on Friday 24 July, and most of its other 11 venues on Friday 31 July.
Cineworld originally planned to open on 10 July, but has pushed this date back to 31 July; a petition started by employees and now signed by thousands wants customers to have to wear face coverings on its premises.
That’s just the bigger chains, and smaller, independent cinemas could take even longer to reopen.
The Independent Cinema Office found that just 13 per cent of its surveyed venues would be back in July – 15 per cent of those surveyed plan to open in August, and another 23 per cent in September.
What films will be on?
With the release schedules out of whack, many cinemas will be showing slightly older hits.
ODEON currently lists Star Wars epic The Empire Strikes Back, La La Land and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar among the ‘Top Films’ taking bookings on its website.
In fact, ahead of the August release date of Nolan’s time-warping action-thriller Tenet, someone’s got the director a good deal: Dunkirk is also screening in Odeon cinemas, and Inception gets a big 10th anniversary IMAX re-release on 31 July.
Things vary widely between chains and screens, so for showings at your local cinema, check its website.
What’s new in July?
At the very least, kids will be well catered for, with the release of animated adventure Dreambuilders on 10 July, about a young girl who uses her new ability to create and control dreams to teach her bothersome stepsister a lesson.
More animation follows a week later with Snow Queen: Mirror Lands on 17 July, which follows the story of a girl who battles to keep magic alive through kindness and friendship after a powerful king traps all the world’s magicians.
More mature audiences might enjoy The Vigil on the same date, a supernatural horror about a man providing overnight watch to a deceased member of community, who finds himself opposite a malevolent entity.
Where are the blockbusters?
Almost as proof that the world is a little weird right now, the biggest cinema release of July 2020 is arguably a re-release of the decade-old (but still brilliant) Inception, which gets a 10th anniversary IMAX update on 31 July.
It won’t be until August that film fans will be able to enjoy some of the year’s biggest ‘fresh’ blockbusters.
Disney’s live-action retelling of Mulan is due on 21 August, while horror-thriller A Quiet Place Part II will release on 4 September.
Superhero fans will have to wait until 2 October for DC’s Wonder Woman 1984, and those on the Marvel side of the fan divide won’t get a new MCU entry until Black Widow on 6 November.
Pixar’s Soul comes out 20 November, while long-awaited Top Gun sequel Maverick should make for some great Christmas escapism (assuming everything is back to normal by then) when it’s released on 23 December.
What’s on streaming?
If venturing out to the multiplex is still a little daunting, given the ongoing coronavirus crisis, there will still be plenty of films to enjoy at home.
Ben Affleck’s basketball coach biopic Finding The Way Back comes to streaming on 10 July, as does animated Scooby-Doo adventure Scoob! and are-they-aren’t-they a cult documentary, Spaceship Earth.