Film fans rush back to the big screen as cinemas record 'sell out' week

Queues were seen outside Abbeygate cinema in Bury St Edmunds as it was sold out 

Queues were seen outside Abbeygate cinema in Bury St Edmunds as film goers rushed to get back to the big screen - Credit: Abbeygate Cinema

Cinemas have reopened their doors for the first time this year and many have been inundated with guests rushing back to watch their favourite films. 

There was a huge buzz of excitement at the Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds last Monday as staff prepared to greet old and new customers following months of closure. 

Despite the cinema running at a reduced capacity due to Covid restrictions, ticket sales were "solid" all weekend with the popular films such as Nomadland and The Dig both being sold out. 

Project manager Chris Peters with Marketing manager Andrea Holmes outside the Abbeygate Cinema Pict

Project manager Chris Peters with Marketing manager Andrea Holmes outside the Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: RACHEL EDGE

Andrea Holmes, marketing manager, said: ''We've been humbled by the continued support of our customers during the cinema's lockdown and are extremely pleased with initial ticket sales.

"The flood of customers returning, eager to come and see a film on the big screen again or to enjoy a meal or drink in our restaurant, has reinforced the feeling of love and loyalty people have for our beautiful cinema and made all the hard work and worry worth it.''

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Gareth Boggis, the cinema's front of house manager, greeted the first customers through the door.

Abbeygate Cinema has been awarded £175,000 in the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund

Abbeygate Cinema in Bury St Edmunds had a successful reopening weekend - Credit: Rachel Edge

He said: "It was a fantastic opening weekend welcoming back our customers and it was particularly exciting to see 'sold out' screenings and receive universally positive feedback. People felt safe, excited to be back and optimistic for the summer and the next big releases.'' 

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Another independent cinema that had a successful reopening week is the Aldeburgh Cinema, where every screening has been sold out so far. 

Michele Kench, the cinema's general manager, said: "It was lovely to welcome people back and it was very successful. 

"We were sold out for every screening. We were showing The Dig and Nomadland and obviously a lot of people wanted to come and see The Dig because it is a lovely local story and Nomadland has won three Oscars including best picture. 

"We have had fantastic feedback from both films and we had lots of our supporters and regular customers return.

"There were also a number of people on holiday in Aldeburgh who came and enjoyed a film at the cinema."

Aldeburgh cinema reopened last week and was sold out

Aldeburgh cinema reopened last week and was sold out - Credit: Aldeburgh Cinema

Before the coronavirus pandemic the cinema could seat 253 guests in the auditorium but because of the safety measures in place only 80 seats are available, but Mrs Kench still thinks it is a lovely position to be in.

"It gives you confidence for the future," Mrs Kench said.

"It is obvious people are still keen to come back to the cinema regardless of what they can watch at home and they still want to come and watch things on the big screen."

Cineworld Cinemas also had a "strong opening weekend" across the UK and said it expects a "good recovery" following the months of pandemic closures. 

The cinema chain said its first week was buoyed by the success of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, which drew in family audiences. 

It added that the weekend performance went "beyond our expectations as customers were eager to return to the movies and enjoy the full movie experience". 

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