London cinemas: will your local be opening its doors after lockdown?

‘Everytime a cinema reopens its doors, an angel gets its wings.’

With that retooled quote from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, the Prince Charles Cinema speaks for cinemas across London as they prepare to reopen next week at the end of the latest lockdown. Yes, the city’s cinemas are back in business as of Wednesday, December 2.

Here are the up-to-date reopening plans for London cinemas: 

Genesis Cinema, Wed Dec 2
Arthouse Crouch End, Wed Dec 2
Everyman Cinemas, Wed Dec 2
Riverside Studios, Thu Dec 3
The Prince Charles Cinema, Thu Dec 3
BFI Southbank, Thu Dec 3
Rio Cinema, Thu Dec 3
Barbican Cinema, Thu Dec 3
Archlight Cinema, Fri Dec 4
The Castle, Fri Dec 4
Curzon Cinemas, Fri Dec 4
Ciné Lumière, Dec TBC

Social distancing will, of course, be in place as before this latest lockdown. Screenings won’t be able to start after 11pm, so no all-night marathons, and you won’t be able to buy booze unless you’re eating one of those nebulous but appetising-sounding ‘substantial meals’.

So what to see? Number one on your list should be David Fincher’s new film, ‘Mank’, a seriously substantial movie. It’s worth seeing on a screen big enough to showcase its meticulous evocation of ‘40s Hollywood. The Prince Charles is double-billing it with its inspiration, ‘Citizen Kane’. Netflix’s other awards contender, ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’, is also well worth checking out, and there’s a brand new Francis Ford Coppola cut of ‘The Godfather III’.

The Castle in Homerton is hosting an entire Enchanted Castle-themes festive season, while BFI Southbank has a sleigh’s worth of Christmas movies: from ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’ to (yes) ‘Die Hard’, as well as a Marlene Dietrich season. Dankeschön, etc.

The limited number of new movie releases in December also means a focus on event cinema – Crouch End’s ArtHouse is one of the cinemas screening NT Live plays like ‘War Horse’ and ‘All My Sons’ – as well as the usual feast of festive classics.

Not all London cinemas will be reopening, of course. Picturehouse and Cineworld will be remaining closed into the new year. Kensal Rise’s The Lexi is midway through an expansion and recovering from fire damage. It won’t reopen until March 2021.

The Odeon and Vue chains are still TBC, as is Peckhamplex, although the Peckham miniplex definitely won’t be opening next week. Check online with your local cinema for up-to-date info. 

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