BFI confident audiences will return quickly to cinema

The BFI are obviously delighted that audiences will be able to once again enjoy the magic of the big screen experience, and we can’t wait to open our doors again at BFI Southbank.

New research being released this Friday shows that audiences’ appetite for film has not been dimmed during the pandemic, and the BFI is confident that audiences will return quickly to cinemas across the country in May, June and beyond for blockbuster new releases (A Quiet Place Part IIIn the Heights), family films (Peter Rabbit 2Cruella) and awards headliners (The Father, After LoveFirst CowNomadlandRare Beasts). The research shows that despite cinema closures during the national restrictions, a third of adults (31%) watched at least one film at the cinema or other big screen venue in 2020, which is pretty remarkable given the prolonged periods of closure!

The BFI has been working closely with the industry throughout the pandemic. For cinemas we have been allocating funding to independent cinemas across England on behalf of the DCMS and the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF). To date we have allocated £27.6 million from the fund to independent cinemas from Penrith to Penzance, supporting a total of 209 individual cinemas and enabling them to be able to welcome their audiences once more. The fund has supported cinemas in every part of the country with 87% of the funding going to cinemas located outside London.  Further funding has also been allocated by Arts Council England to independent cinemas which operate as part of mixed art venues.

The BFI’s flagship London venue BFI Southbank will reopen on 17 May with a programme that includes DREAM PALACE: MOVIES MADE FOR THE BIG SCREEN, a season inspired by the ongoing Sight & Sound editorial campaign ‘My Dream Palace’. The season (from 17 May – 30 June), has been curated by filmmakers including Edgar Wright, Gurinder Chadha, Luca Guadagnino, Asif Kapadia, Prano Bailey-Bond, Peter Strickland, Francis Lee and many more. Our special guests, some of whom will introduce their choices in person and some virtually, have all picked the film that they would most like to see at BFI Southbank; the result is a wonderfully eclectic mix, all of which will be glorious on our dreamy big screens.

More info on this season and entire reopening programme is available here.