UK cinemas to close or screen the Queen’s funeral on Monday

·3-min read
A Cineworld cinema in Northampton (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)
A Cineworld cinema in Northampton (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Many of the UK’s cinemas will close on the day of the Queen’s state funeral – while others will remain open to screen the event for free, they have said.

Major chains including Cineworld, Odeon and Showcase will shut their sites on September 19 in a mark of respect.

Smaller operators including The Light – which has movie theatres in locations such as Cambridge, Sheffield and Stockport – will also close their doors for the day.

Other cinema chains including Curzon and Arc have chosen to screen the funeral for free while cancelling the rest of their programming that day.

Arc said in a statement on Twitter: “We have to decided to screen Her Majesty The Queen’s State Funeral on Bank Holiday Monday 19th September at 11am.

“This is a free event but pre-booking your seat is essential. There will be no other shows taking place while the funeral is broadcast.”

Vue, meanwhile, said it had cancelled its scheduled screenings across Monday but would open a select number of venues to screen the funeral.

“Seats will be free of charge and we will close our retail stands, but will offer complimentary bottled water during the broadcast,” the chain said in a statement.

“We will also be screening the London Procession in the majority of our UK venues on Wednesday, 14 September. On this day all other screens will be open showing film content as normal.”

The UK release of romantic comedy Ticket To Paradise, starring Hollywood A-listers George Clooney and Julia Roberts, has also been pushed back from September 16 until September 20 – the day after the funeral.

Tuesday also marks the end of the period of national mourning.

Public museums, galleries and other arts and culture venues are not obliged to close during this time, although some have.

Government guidance says: “Organisations may choose to close on the day of the State Funeral, however there is no obligation to do so and this is at the discretion of individual organisations.

“As with other organisations, these institutions may wish to display or share images of previous Royal visits, particularly if they are one of Her Majesty’s patronages.”

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, said: “While we have shared with our members official guidance which suggests that there is no requirement to close, clearly all UK cinema operators are sensitive to the public mood and responding accordingly at what is a very sad time for many across the country.”

Mr Clapp said his current understanding was that 150 UK sites plan to screen the funeral.

Most theatres in central London will also close on Monday with the Society of London Theatre (Solt) and UK Theatre saying the decision had been made “out of respect for all who are mourning”.

The organisations added in a joint statement: “Throughout the period of national mourning, performances will go ahead as planned but we would advise audiences coming into central London to allow more time for their journeys to and from the theatre from Wednesday when the Queen will be lying in state.

“In regards to the national one minute silence at 8pm on Sunday 18 September, shows that are playing on that evening will mark this prior to curtain up.”

It comes as historic and heritage sites, such as Stonehenge, HMS Belfast and Hadrian’s Wall, also announced plans to close on the day of the Queen’s funeral.

Retailers Morrisons, Marks & Spencer, Lidl and Asda have also said they will shut.