Odeon to switch to weekend-only opening at quarter of cinemas


Cinema chain Odeon is to switch to weekend-only opening at a quarter of its 120 UK sites – with audience figures slow to pick up after the coronavirus lockdown.

The chain, owned by US-based giant AMC, will close 30 cinemas from Monday to Thursday for the time being.

Odeon emailed loyalty customers to notify them of the change.

The company declined to comment whether jobs would be affected or which screens would be shut.

It comes as rival Cineworld reveals that it is temporarily suspending operations entirely at 536 cinemas in the US and 127 in the UK, affecting thousands of jobs.

Cineworld pointed to delays in the release of the latest blockbusters – in particular the announcement on Friday that the new James Bond film was to be pushed back to next year.

Odeon’s decision to switch to weekend-only showings at some of its sites was understood to have been taken before the James Bond announcement.

The company’s Chinese-controlled parent company AMC, which is based in the US, is saddled with around £4bn worth of debt.

Ratings agency S&P said on Friday that it could run o
ut of liquidity within six months unless it can raise more capital.

AMC and Cineworld both temporarily banned films from Hollywood studio Universal – which is owned by Comcast, the ultimate parent company of Sky News – during the lockdown after it released the film Trolls World Tour directly to streaming platforms.