CINEMA chains Odeon, Cineworld, Vue and Picturehouse are shutting all their UK screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The move comes a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised people to avoid public venues.
Cinema UK, which represents the industry, said “most UK cinema sites” would close in the coming days following the government advice.
Theatres in London’s West End and around the UK have already closed, and many concerts have been called off.
Odeon has more than 120 cinemas in the UK and Ireland, while Vue has 91, Cineworld has 100, and also runs 24 Picturehouse sites. The BFI’s Southbank complex has also been shut.
Even before the announcements, many film fans were staying away from cinemas, with UK and Ireland box office takings down 50% between Friday and Sunday compared with the previous weekend, according to Screen Daily.
On top of that, cinemas that remain open might not have much to show. Many of the biggest new releases of the coming months, such as James Bond’s No Time To Die and the new Fast and Furious film F9, have been put back in the schedules.
With more people staying at home, some film studios have decided to bring forward the home streaming releases of their latest releases.