U.K. Audiences Keen to Return to Cinemas Post-Lockdown, Survey Finds

The U.K. public is keen to return to cinemas, a survey has found, with 59% of respondents citing the cinema as their most missed out-of-home entertainment activity.

A U.K.-wide survey commissioned by the Film Distributors’ Association and carried out by research agency Metrixlab also revealed that 40% of audiences are planning to return within the first few weeks after reopening and a further 36% within the first couple of months.

U.K. drive-in cinemas are currently due to reopen April 12 and indoor screens from May 17. The research shows that those who have digitally rented or purchased films over the past year are the most likely to return to cinemas as soon as they reopen.

The survey also looked into cinemagoers’ impressions of the brief period between lockdowns in 2020 when movie theaters reopened for a few months. It found that 93% of cinemagoers who returned enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive experience, while 99% were satisfied with the health and safety measures at their local cinema.

Cinema First is the cross-industry body charged with the promotion of cinemagoing in the U.K. Its core constituents are the Film Distributors’ Association, representing U.K. film distributors, and the U.K. Cinema Association, representing U.K. cinema operators.

Iain Jacob, Cinema First chair, said: “After a long period of lockdown, it’s great to see that such a large proportion of the public can’t wait to come back to the cinema. Our research has confirmed what we had hoped: after being at home on lockdown since December, we are all keen to escape to the cinema to experience the magic that only comes from watching a film on the big screen. Cinemas across the U.K. are thrilled to be opening their doors again and safely welcoming back film fans and resuming the thriving culture of cinemagoing.”

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