Cineworld hailed a “strong opening weekend” across the UK and said it expects a “good recovery” after months of pandemic closures.
The cinema chain said its first week since the UK reopening was buoyed by the success of Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, which drew in family audiences.
It added that the weekend performance “went beyond our expectations as customers were eager to return to the movies and enjoy the full movie experience”.
Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “We are thrilled to have our cinemas back in business in the US and UK and to welcome movie fans back to the big screen for an exciting and full slate of films.
“We are especially pleased with the warm welcome our employees have received, and the positive feedback from returning guests.
“When combined with improving consumer confidence and the success of the vaccination rollout, we expect a good recovery in attendance over the coming months, noting the record-breaking success of F9 in the Asian market.
“We are excited for our customers to experience the magic of big screen entertainment again, all made possible by the hard work of our colleagues around the world, and remain committed to be the best place to watch a movie.”
As film fans flock to the cinemas after months of having to make do with streaming platforms such as Netflix and Disney+, there are a range of high-profile releases sure to excite fans in 2021.
From Marvel and James Bond, to reimagined classics, here are the top picks for 2021.
Peter Rabbit 2
Peter Rabbit finally returns with a film for the whole family to enjoy. Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson and James Corden all return for the sequel to the 2018 live-action animation
Spiral: The Book Of Saw
Believe it or not, this is the ninth offering from the Saw franchise, but will be more of a detective movie than an all-out horror. Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson team up in this continuation of the hugely successful franchise.
Those Who Wish Me Dead
Angelina Jolie plays a forest firefighter protecting a young boy from ruthless assassins after he witnesses a murder.
Cruella – May 28
This 101 Dalmatians spin-off sees Emma Stone play on of Disney’s most iconic villains. Viewers will see the origin story of the infamous Cruella de Vil and find out how she developed her passion for Dalmatian fur coats.
A Quiet Place Part II – June 4
The follow up to the hugely popular horror-thriller was close to its release just before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Now, A Quiet Place II finally arrives to the big screens as Emily Blunt returns alongside Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy and Djimon Hounsou.
In The Heights – June 18
A favourite among musical fans, In The Heights is finally hitting the big screen this summer. The bright young cast includes A Star Is Born’s Anthony Ramos and Bojack Horseman’s Stephanie Beatriz.
Freaky – June 25
After swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer, a young girl in high school discovers she has less than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent. Starring Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton and Celeste O’Connor.
Fast and Furious 9 – July 8
Vin Diesel stars in the ninth instalment of the popular racing franchise and this time he is confronted by his long-lost-brother, played by John Cena.
Black Widow – July 9
Marvel fans had to go a full year without a new big screen marvel release for the first time in over a decade but that wait is finally over. Scarlett Johansson returns as Russian Spy Black Widow with Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Ray Winstone and Rachel Weisz all appearing in the latest Marvel instalment.
Space Jam: A New Legacy – July 16
This 90s classic is reimagined for a modern audience with LeBron James replacing Michael Jordan.
Jungle Cruise – July 30
Based on a Disney theme park ride, The Rock and Emily Blunt, as the film title suggest, go on a jungle cruise. Jack Whitehall also stars as the pair travel through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.
The Suicide Squad – August 6
Most of the Suicide Squad return including Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn. Will Smith does not return however this is written by Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn which suggests this could be a hit.
Free Guy – August 13
Ryan Reynold’s stars as a bank teller who discovers that he’s actually an NPC inside a brutal, open world video game.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – September 3
Just two months after Black Widow, Marvel fans will be treated to Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. The movie, based on Marvel Comics, will focus on Shang-Chi; ‘The Master of Kung-Fu’.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage – September 24
Tom Hardy returns for the sequel of 2018 film Venom.
No Time To Die – September 30
In what feels like the longest wait in cinema history Daniel Craig’s final outing as 007 is finally upon us. The latest instalment of the James Bond franchise was the first big movie to delay its release in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Billie Eilish has already won a Grammy for the theme song before the film has even been released which only adds to the excitement.
Jackass 4 – October 22
Pretty self-explanatory this one. Expect absolute carnage as the gang returns after ten years.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife – November 12
This is the first film in the original continuity so if you’re a die hard fan from the original 1984 film, you will want to go and see this.
When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.
Top Gun: Maverick – November 19
A prequel to the 1986 hit, Tom Cruise returns alongside an all-star cast including Jennifer Connelly and Miles Teller. After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.
West Side Story – December 10
Steven Spielberg will bring his own twist to one of his favourite movies and an Oscar-winning classic. Need I say more?
Spider-Man: No Way Home – December 17
This will be Tom Holland’s third outing as the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. The film itself is surrounded by secrecy and all we know so far is that it is a continuation of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Matrix 4 – December 22
Keanu Reeves returns for the fourth instalment of the Matrix franchise with the plot currently kept under wraps.
The King’s Man – December 22
The third instalment of the Kingsman film series features an ensemble cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Harris Dickinson, Daniel Brühl, Djimon Hounsou and Charles Dance.
The story is based in the early years of the 20th century when the Kingsman agency is formed to stand against a cabal plotting a war to wipe out millions.