Cinema ‘slightly bruised but raring to go’ as lockdown restrictions ease

The Prince Charles Cinema has sold nearly all available tickets as customers return.
The Prince Charles Cinema has sold nearly all available tickets as customers return.

The founder of a London cinema has said his venue will have to operate at close to its maximum capacity in order to continue to break even after coronavirus restrictions were eased.

Ben Freedman said the Prince Charles Cinema has “arrived in one piece, slightly bruised but raring to go” as it reopened to the public on Monday.

The cinema, which is in Soho, central London, has sold nearly all the available tickets for the eight films showing on its first day of being back open and it will need to carry on operating close to its full capacity for it not to lose money, he said.

Mr Freedman told the PA news agency that reopening is going to be “tough”, adding: “I think we can break even if we continue to sell out and then I’m hoping that realistically it’s going to be a couple of months before we get back to anything like full capacity.”

He said it is “really exciting” to be open again, adding: “When you love movies as much as we do, to not be able to show them to people for so long is pretty horrible and really the mood lifted as soon as we started to aim towards today, which was a couple of months ago.”

He added that the public are “really desperate” to be able to return to cinemas.

“I think the assumption that everyone has a massive television and wants to stay home 24 hours a day is not correct and there’s nothing like sharing a film with people,” he said.

Coronavirus – Mon May 17, 2021
Ben Freedman outside the Prince Charles Cinema (Tom Horton/PA)

Mr Freedman said his venue has not been heavily impacted by disruption to the film release schedule caused by coronavirus because they show classic movies as well as new releases.

However, he said it will “take a bit of time for the big cinemas to get back into the throw of things” because of delays to the release dates of new blockbuster films.

New releases include Peter Rabbit 2, featuring the voice of James Corden, and Spiral: From The Book Of Saw, starring Chris Rock.

Cinema chains including Vue, Odeon, Curzon and Everyman have reopened their venues while Cineworld will begin reopening from Wednesday.