Burnley cinema slashes prices in bid to attract Covid-wary customers

Burnley's Reel Cinema has slashed ticket prices as it battles to restore customer confidence amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Burnley Reel CinemaBurnley Reel Cinema
Burnley Reel Cinema

Earlier this week, national chain Cineworld announced it would be temporarily closing it cinemas in the wake of the new James Bond film being pushed back to 2021.

Reel has decided to remain open, but Burnley manager Andy White said that without the public's help the cinema was fighting a losing battle.

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"We have done everything possible to make sure we have a clean, safe environment for customers regarding social distancing and Covid-19.

"And so to try to get people back in we have dropped the ticket prices.

"Standard tickets will now be £2.50 before 1pm, and £3.50 after. VIP and Premier Lounge tickets are also going to be reduced."

A spokesman from Reel Cinema said: "The cinema industry is a perilous state now. We are experiencing a revenue loss of over 80% year on year, which is clearly unsustainable.

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"The problem is not primarily social distancing rules – these may limit our capacity to say 30%, but our current occupancy rates are well below this level, the problem is fundamentally getting the customers to want to come out again.

"They may understandably feel nervous but, if they were to come once, they would see the precautions and the safe environment. Initial problem is getting them to come that first time.

"What is needed is some good film product and then we stand a chance of getting the public to at least try the cinema experience. But they will not feel inclined to take this leap of faith without something new and exciting to come and see.

"At the moment every cinema in the country is making a loss. Not just Reel – everyone. Every site could reduce its losses by closing rather than remaining open trying to serve such a limited audience.

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"So we have all been open, hanging on to the hope of Bond to be this catalyst to get the public out. Now that hope has gone and there is no incentive to keep these cinemas open – see Cineworld’s announcement issued after Bond was pulled.

"Without a decent film slate coming out of Hollywood, the cinema industry cannot reboot itself. Simple as that. With a good series of films we could start to address the further problems created by social distancing, but these issues fade into insignificance whilst the public have nothing to see and therefore no incentive to come to the cinema.

"If the cinema industry dies, it takes with it thousands of jobs but more importantly it destroys a fundamental social facility that has been part of our society for approaching a hundred years. It cannot be replaced and therefore must not be allowed to die."