Nearly a quarter of Vue cinemas will be closed three days a week in a bid to cut costs after the delay in releasing a string of blockbuster films.

Starting next week, the movie theater chain will reduce its operating hours to four days a week at 21 of its 91 locations, and keep them closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

This comes after rival Cineworld announced that it will temporarily close 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse locations in the UK.

The CEO of Vue Cinemas had previously said that the movie chains had suffered a “physical blow” by delaying the release of the next James Bond movie, No Time To Die, until April of next year.

The Marvel Black Widow movie, the science fiction movie Dune and Jurassic World: Dominion are also among the notable titles that saw release delays as a result of the global pandemic.

This step will see many hours of part-time work

Tim Richards said, “Our problem now is that we don’t have movies. That was a big blow for us.

“We’ll probably succeed in that; I’m worried about the freelancers and small regional operators right now who will really struggle, and when they close they might not reopen.

There are five branches with reduced opening hours in London, including the big chain cinema in Leicester Square.

Movie theaters around the world are struggling during the pandemic

The affected Vue cinemas are Cardiff, Accrington, Altrincham, Barrow, Birkenhead, Blackburn and Carmarthen.

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Lancaster, Piccadilly, Redditch, Clevelis, Dagenham, Hale Princess Quay, Reel, Scunthorpe, Shepherds Bush, Stroud, and Swansea Wood Green are also included.

Competing chain Odeon also confirmed that about 30 of its 120 movie sites would be closed Monday through Thursday after audience numbers were slow to recover after the pandemic.

The AMC-owned movie theater chain recently sent an email to loyal customers notifying them that some movie theaters will only be operating on Weekend model for now.