By KLTV Newsdesk
Elland’s Rex cinema and three other Yorkshire independent cinemas have announced they are set to open their doors again this Friday, October 30.
The others are The Picturehouse in Keighley, The Plaza in Skipton and The Cottage Road in Leeds.
The cinemas have been closed since March 21, when they were ordered to shut by the government due to the initial Coronavirus outbreak.
The proprietor of the four cinemas, Charles Morris, said: “I’m sure people will be aware that a lot of new films, like the new James Bond film No Time To Die, have been delayed and delayed, but enough is enough and we are opening again”
The first film to hit their screens on Friday will be the Audrey Hepburn 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s at 7.30 pm.
Mr Morris added: “We’re pretty much booked up for the first weekend; we’ve had to reduce the capacity to maintain the necessary social distancing, which is most unfortunate.
“But we have a line-up of recent and not-so-recent classics daily for the next fortnight, after which some newer films will be shown.
The Rex will also be showing various live theatre productions, which have been recorded for cinema viewings.
Mr Morris noted that there will be a slate of new smaller and independent films being shown alongside the classics
He said: “There have in fact been quite a few films which I am sure people will enjoy. It’s just that they are from the smaller distributors who cannot afford the marketing budgets of bigger publishers, so folks won’t be aware of them to the same extent.
“I bet 90% of the films we show would be enjoyed by 90% of the public if they gave them a chance.”
Mr Morris said the cinema has been undertaking all the necessary preparations in order to reopen.
“We have a spacious auditorium with 300 seats, so it is perfectly possible to maintain social distancing but it does limit the numbers,” He said.
“We will be keeping people apart by showing which seats are available and which are not.
“We are taking all the precautions we can to prevent the spread of the disease. It is probably safer to visit the cinema than to go into a shop.”
Mr Morris, who opened the most recent incarnation of the Rex in 1988, seems to be optimistic about the future of independent cinema.
He said: “My four Yorkshire cinemas have all been here for over a hundred years; they’ve survived two world wars, at least two other pandemics, they’ve seen the art deco movie palaces of the 1930s come and go and they look like they’ll outlast the multiplex cinemas.
“I’ve successfully rescued and rejuvenated them and I intend to carry on as I have always done.”
Mr Morris did caution that support would be needed however.
“We’ve had seven months with no income and we need people through the doors and to keep coming. It’s no good waiting for six months until you think it’s safer and there’s a film which takes your fancy.”
“As we are having to operate on reduced capacity to maintain social distancing, it could mean seats are limited for the more popular films.
“We very much look forward to seeing patrons old and new; it’s been a lonely few months”
The films that will availble to view from Friday, 30 October, are listed on the cinemas’ website at www.nm-cinemas.co.uk.
Quotes Edited for Clarity