As a second lockdown looms over England, cinemas are having to close their doors once again. Cineworld and Picturehouse already shut down in October after the latest delay of No Time to Die was announced, and now the rest of the industry is set to follow suit under new government rulings.
While this is a blow for all cinemas in England, it will hit independents particularly hard. Most cinemas offer memberships, while you can buy gift vouchers from others to spend after lockdown ends. We spoke to some indie cinemas around the country to find out how we can all continue to support them during these difficult times.
Some cinemas sell their own merch (opens in new tab), like the Prince Charles Cinema in London’s Leicester Square. Known for its anniversary screenings and all-night movie marathons, their online store offers everything from mugs to socks.
And if you can't buy anything, show cinemas support on social media. “Simply show some love on Twitter (opens in new tab) as we know not everyone can afford to spend right now,” Paul Vickery, their Head of Programming, tells GamesRadar+ and Total Film
“We’re obviously sad that after an amazing three weeks of being reopen we have to close again – but that’s the nature of the world we’re in right now so we have to roll with the punches and do whatever we have to do to survive and keep our entire team employed.”
Sponsor a seat
Other venues have the option to sponsor a cinema seat (opens in new tab) in one of their screens, like the Watershed on Bristol’s historic harbourside. Their cinema curator, Mark Cosgrove, tells us: “Cinema is an affordable, accessible, and entertaining cultural activity with no reported transmission cases globally. So I am just a bit frustrated…”
Keep your membership going
Meanwhile, some cinemas are looking into online alternatives while their doors are closed, like HOME in Manchester. Jason Wood, their Creative Director for Film and Culture, says: “We are already working with a number of distributors again to enable audiences to watch new films online and to then pledge a share of the screening fee to the organisation… Keeping up or taking out memberships (opens in new tab) also helps enormously and if an audience member can afford it deferring a refund on any ticket purchased is also welcome and hugely beneficial to us. The most important thing is to stay safe and support us again when we inevitably return.”
If you want to support your local cinema during lockdown, the Independent Cinema Office has put together a handy list to help you find your nearest venue here (opens in new tab).