Reopening of cinemas: what are the measures and what's showing?

Reopening of cinemas: what are the measures and what's showing?
Credit: Kinepolis Group

After seven months of closure, cinemas across Belgium have reopened their doors after the first part of the summer relaxation plan went into effect on Wednesday.

The rules for cinema-going have remained largely the same since they closed in October, however,  there are many more films showing this time around in comparison with when cinemas reopened following the first lockdown last summer.

Before planning your visit, find out what the rules are both in and out of the movie theatres, and what films you can see. 

What are the measures?

Cinemas have been preparing to reopen their doors for the last several weeks.

"We have been busy preparing for the reopening, from disinfecting all the movie theatres to communicating the health safety measures," Anneleen Van Troos, spokesperson of Kinepolis Group which has 11 cinemas in Belgium, told The Brussels Times.

Cinema bubbles are the same as other indoor bubbles: four people can sit together in a bubble, not counting children under the age of 12.

The 1.5 metre distance rule will be respected in all theatres, from Kinepolis and UGC's large complexes to independent cinemas such as Cinema Galeries in Brussels and Sphinx in Ghent, which means that the two chairs to the left and right and those in front and behind each bubble will not be used.

In common areas, all seats have been closed off, and people are asked to go straight to the movie theatre and to their seats.

The programming of films will also be spread out, leaving 15 minutes between one or two films, "to separate the inflow and outflow of people," Van Troos explained.

All tickets should be ordered online in advance, however, the option of contactless payment is possible at UGC for example. Most cinemas are asking people not to come earlier than half an hour before the screening.

For the time being, there will be no scheduled break halfway through the film for toilet breaks or to get more movie snacks.

Masks must be worn at all times, except when eating and drinking during the screening, which is permitted at most cinemas, including UGC and Kinepolis, and at smaller cinemas including Sphinx. However, it is best to check on location what the rules on eating and drinking are.

Meanwhile, UGC has informed customers that from 11 July, the wearing of a mouth mask in our halls is compulsory for all people over 12 years of age.

Most cinemas are equipped with high-performance ventilation systems to further limit the risk.

"Usually, we recycle indoor air, but during this health crisis, will guarantee a maximum supply of new, clean air from outside," Van Troos said.

Out with the old, in with the new

Whilst preparing to reopen, staff members across all cinemas have been tasked with taking down the old movie posters of films that showed in October, to replace them with the posters of new films, of which there are many.

"The situation is completely different from previous summers, there is no lack of titles as there was at that point. Now, there are around 20 to 25 new titles to be scheduled from 9 June, and looking forward to the next months, it looks like the situation will continue to be positive," Van Troos said.

All cinemas will be looking to offer something for everyone, from horror films to animation for the whole family.

Wondering what cinemas in Belgium will be showing? Here's a run-down of the most popular films on the big screen at the moment. 

Nomadland, the big winner at this year's Oscar ceremony, stars Frances McDormand and several non-professional actors. The film, depicting the life of American workers who roam the country's vast rural landscapes in search of freedom, is being shown at almost every cinema in Belgium.

The Human Voice, a half-hour-long short film with Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton playing the lead role, premiered at the Venice and Miami film festival. In Belgium, it is primarily showing at smaller, independent cinemas, including the Palace and Cinema Vendôme in Brussels.

ADN (DNA), is a French drama film that was set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2020, which was later cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. French actress and director's (self)portrait film lets the viewer experience how intensely complicated family and blood ties can be.

Sons of Philadelphia/ Brothers by Blood, starring Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts, tells the story of a man, who is tormented by his sister's death, and whose family runs a crime business, which is being taken over by his cousin.

Calamity, which was released in Belgium around the same time that cinemas shut, is a French animated film that depicts the childhood of Calamity Jane in the Wild West, as she tries to find her place in a masculine society.

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train, a Japanese animation film, offers something different from other children's films, and was the most-watched film in Japan in 2020. The film tells the story of two boys who are on a mission to defeat a demon who has been tormenting people and killing other demon slayers who try to take it down.

Cruella, the live-action sequel of the Disney original 101 Dalmatians, starts where the 1961 animated classic finished and focuses on the villain character of Cruella De Vil. The film, starring actress Emma Stone, was one of the more popular presale movies ahead of cinemas reopening.

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It is another presale best-seller and is the sequel of the previous Conjuring films, released in 2013 and 2016. It follows two paranormal investigators in their investigation into a man who has been accused of murder but claims demonic possession.

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