Film fans in Penrith got the chance this week to experience the first major blockbuster release since cinemas were allowed to reopen post-lockdown.
Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan, is a film “made for the big screen”, says Matt Bainbridge, manager of the town’s Alhambra Cinema.
On Wednesday, 70 people watched the film over three socially-distanced screenings and it generated “energetic conversations” afterwards among its viewers who all took something different from it.
“This has been a shot of adrenaline, these past couple of days. The best thing is seeing people coming in who are so happy the cinema is open again. It’s been so uplifting,” said Matt.
He said an “absolutely brilliant” blockbuster film like Tenet, which will also be popular with the art house crowd, was just what cinema needs at the moment.
“I think the biggest thing that Tenet is going to be able to do is to get the ball rolling for big films coming out.
“It’s not necessarily that we are hanging all our hats on this one release,” said Matt.
Other upcoming big releases include Marvel’s The New Mutants, a superhero movie which opens for previews this weekend.
And in the coming weeks there is a new Bill and Ted film, a Kingsman prequel and Wonder Woman 1984 all to look forward to.
“Finally big studios are putting out films.
“The change has come because they have started releasing films in the UK and Europe, not just all at the same time for the rest of the world.
“It’s regional releases, rather than international releases,” added Matt.
Assistant manager Joe Watters said there had been a return to the old traditions of cinema, with the usher now giving an usher’s address before the start of the film, as would have happened back in the day.
“We have reintroduced the good bits of the past and made it safe for the future,” said Joe.
With all of the cinema’s seats being socially-distanced, it means it is operating at less than half of its capacity, but it does mean you never have never got anyone blocking your view.
“That is probably not going to change for quite a while. We know that we are definitely safe in here and it’s important now to get people in and for them to see how safe and comfortable it is,” said Matt.