It has been 21 weeks since cinemas were last open. For film fans this has meant no post-Christmas festive trip to the silver screen, no January spent watching all the big awards contenders, no popcorn in dim foyers for over 75 days.
But on the 17th of May this will all change, with venues allowed to reopen as part of the next stage of the government’s lockdown unlocking.
So what can you expect when those lights dim and projectors across the city whirr back to life?
What’s coming to cinemas in May and June?
Given both the stop-start nature of cinema openings in the second half of 2020 and a release schedule that was fluid to say the least, it is strange to look at what is due in cinemas in the first six weeks of opening and find something for everyone.
Cinephiles can finally catch Oscar winners Nomadland, Sound of Metal (both getting a cinema run from 17th May) and The Father (11th June). And critically-lauded festival hits such as First Cow (28th May), After Love (4th June), Shiva Baby (11th June) and Supernova (25th June) are all finally showing in cinemas.
For the blockbuster enthusiasts there are long-delayed sequels: Peter Rabbit 2 (17th May), A Quiet Place Part II (4th June) and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (28th May). Later in the summer, release dates have been set for new Fast & Furious and Space Jam installments and the latest superheroics from Marvel (Black Widow) and DC (The Suicide Squad).
Genre fans can catch a new take on Saw entitled Spiral, with, bizarrely, Chris Rock and Samuel L Jackson (17th May), Sundance smash Censor (25th June) and Ben Wheatley’s return to horror with In The Earth (18th June).
This film devotee has a particular excitement for the Bob Odenkirk-going-full-John-Wick action fare Nobody (9th June) and body-swap horror comedy Freaky (25th June). I think we could all do with some silly fun back on the big screen.
When are cinemas reopening?
Oxford’s beloved indie will be opening its doors with a host of award winners that some of you may have missed. So you can catch up with the likes of Minari, Judas & the Black Messiah and Nomadland, as well as indie gems like Rare Beasts and Undine. Plus the cinema’s always great roster of classic films means you can revisit the likes of David Lynch’s The Straight Story, Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces and Terrance Malick’s Days of Heaven.
A fixture in Oxford for over a century, the Phoenix Picturehouse returns to life (having been the first venue in Oxford to go into a pandemic-necessitated slumber) on May 19th and while they’ve yet to release their schedule, Daily Info is sure it will be full of many must-watches.
Oxford’s newest cineplex, nestled in the heart of the Westgate, has a host of cinematic treats for viewers to enjoy from 17th May. Oscar winners Minari, Sound of Metal and Nomadland sit alongside curious horror sequel Spiral: From the Book of Saw and indie gems Ammonite and Apples. Plus, a full menu of pizza and bar food might just entice you to spend a little longer at the Curzon.
Odeon and Vue
Odeon have announced that most of their venues will reopen on 17th May, which almost certainly guarantees that George Street will be back open for the first time in almost five months. Keep an eye out for times in the coming days.
Also back in action from the 17th is the Vue at the Kassam Stadium, where you can watch cinematic classics such as Taxi Driver and Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, alongside newer releases including destruct-o-palooza Godzilla vs. Kong and jumpy horror The Unholy. The Bicester branch is also open from May 17th, although their listings are tba!
Abingdon’s own Abbey Cinema have programmed a diverse group of films, with the big award winners Nomadland and The Father sitting alongside the long-delayed sequel to Peter Rabbit and Brit flick Six Minutes to Midnight (featuring the likes of Eddie Izzard, Jim Broadbent and Judi Dench).
For Wallingford residents, the Corn Exchange is showing a number of films before its summer production takes over the venue. As well as the big awards contenders, you can also catch the Coen Brothers’ darkly amusing classic Fargo and the impressively impactful drama After Love (with a mesmerizing turn from Joanna Scanlan).
So if you’re ready, Oxford’s cinemas will be ready to welcome you back through their doors. And if you’re not quite there yet, these venues will be ready to welcome you whenever you are.