4th July will see a number of Disney titles made available to UK cinemas to reinvigorate a sector which has been closed for months, and a 4K version of The Empire Strikes Back is among them, making it the first 4K public screening of a Star Wars film.
Thus far, the 4K edition of the 1980 film — the second title in the original trilogy, in which Luke Skywalker studies the Force with Yoda as the Galactic Empire pursues the Rebel Alliance — has only been made available on the studio’s streaming platform Disney Plus and via Blu-ray, where it was released in late March alongside 4K versions of the seven other Skywalker Saga films.
The contribution of the title is a prime example of how U.S. studios are leveraging the might of their immense libraries to help the exhibition sector get back on its feet.
Variety understands “The Empire Strikes Back” is, in fact, among a number of titles Disney is offering U.K. exhibitors, who are eyeing a July 4 reopening date.
Cineworld confirmed Tuesday that it will reopen its U.K. and U.S. cinemas on July 10. The Mooky Greidinger-run firm operates cinema chains Regal in the U.S., Cineworld and Picturehouse in the U.K. and Ireland, Cinema City in Europe and Yes Planet in Israel.
Vue is also believed to be eyeing an early July restart across most of its U.K. cinemas. The business released in May a number of COVID-19 measures that it plans to instate across its venues, including physically isolating family groups through Vue’s online booking systems, staggering film times to maintain social distancing and introducing enhanced cleaning and employee protection protocols.
It’s a heck of an incentive to get back into cinemas, the chance to see Empire back on the big screen in its 40th year, providing it’s safe to do.