Film fans were back in action Cineworld Broad Street today – and despite the pending new rules on masks they were all breathing a big sigh of relief.
It was mental fresh air enough just be back at the movies again even if the cinema hadn’t received any posters to put back up in to its display panels over the front doors.
You can watch Batman fan Yusuf Mahmood giving his overjoyed reaction to be back in an IMAX screen in the above video – as well as seeing the new rules about visiting Cineworld Broad Street.
The government has said that visitors to cinemas will have to wear masks “in cinemas” from Saturday, August 8, though the shop floor staff on Broad Street were so busy trying to get properly up and running they weren’t sure of the finer details that will apply in a week’s time given the new announcement had only just been made.
But the customers we spoke to on the cinema’s doorstep today said even if they were told to wear a mask while watching a film – as well as during the walk throughs on the way to their screens – that would not put them off.
Nor was it an issue that to begin with the cinema is mostly screening classics, from The Greatest Showman to Jurassic Park, pending distributors having confidence to release eagerly awaited new films like Christopher Nolan’s twice-postponed Tenet (August 26) and the 25th James Bond film, No Time To Die (November 12).
To see all of our Facebook Live broadcast from outside of the cinema this afternoon click on the BirminghamLive Facebook link here
For details of how to wear a face mask correctly, watch the demonstration from Birmingham’s director of public health Dr Justin Varney here
Masks in cinemas
One of the films now playing at the reopened Cineworld Broad Street features Tom Hardy as the masked villain Bane who tries to “break the Bat” in the Christopher Nolan film The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
But masked characters have a long history in the movies.
Dudley-born Frankenstein director James Whale made The Man With the Iron Mask in the late 1930s.
Jim Carrey became a superstar thanks to the August 1994 hit The Mask and cinema is littered with other characters who have worn one from The Lone Ranger to Batman, Spider-Man, Zorro and The Phantom of the Opera.
Masks have been a pivotal part of the script in bank robbing movies like Point Break and Quick Change, too.
(Image: Birmingham Mail)
One of the first people to head back in to the cinema after its doors reopened was eager to watch the IMAX versions of Christopher Nolan’s Batman films The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises whch was partly filmed in Nottingham
Yusuf Mahmood said: “I am very excited because things are starting to feel like they are going back to normality.
“I was an avid cinemagoer and used to go a couple of times per week and it’s just good to get things back to normal.
“I’m happy for that and happy to support the cinema to keep them open because I feel that cinema isn’t dead to me.”
Yusuf, who works for an investment bank, added: “With blockbusters you have to watch them in the cinema and that’s the best experience so I’m happy.
“I’ve come to see The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises – in IMAX.
“You can’t compare IMAX to sitting at home on your couch, most definitely!”
Brothers in arms
Also heading back in to the cinema were two brothers from Yardley – and they had a galactical experience in mind in order to escape the Covid-19 restrictions.
Paul Field, 51 remembered seeing Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back when it first came out in 1980.
With a new director at the helm and a big twist, the second film in the series tops most fan polls as the best of them all.
Paul said: “I saw it again in 1997 so this will be my third time in the cinema seeing it.
“I quite like to see older films and it wouldn’t bother me at all if they brought more old ones back.
“They could show some of the James Bond films, that would be great – especially if one was Goldfinger.”
Jaccob Prytherch took his 11-year-old daughter Lily and her sister to see Sonic the Hedgehog, which came out in mid-February and stars Jim Carrey as Dr Robotnik.
“I could understand it if they wanted people to wear masks during films as well,” he said.
“And it wouldn’t put me off.
“I’ve got Unlimited cards for myself and my girls so we can see as many films as we like – this was our fourth time seeing Sonic.
“Cineworld have been really good with that, suspending it during lockdown but adding more time and an extra ticket.
“We will be coming back later to see the third film in the Back to the Future trilogy.
Jacob, who works in special needs education in Stourbridge said that the sense of escapism you get watching a film meant he was delighted that the cinema was open again.
“Because of my job I know how difficult it is to get things reopened,” he said.
“My wife is Japanese so she is used to people back home wearing masks.
“I’ve come out of the Sonic film feeling better because it restores a sense of normality.
“It can be oppressive just watching films at home.
“I saw a trailer in there saying they were bringing Bill & Ted back which I didn’t know so I’m really looking forward to seeing that.”