The directors of Barnstaple’s cinema have warned it will not be able to remain open without public support during the coronavirus pandemic.

Scott Cinemas said the cinema in Boutport Street would remain open ‘for the time being’ in a statement on Thursday (October 7).

The statement, issued on Facebook, said its opening days and times may have to be reduced in order to ‘weather the storm’ due to a lack of ‘tentpole’ releases in 2020.

It said while it intends to keep cinemas open, their viability rests on the support of people going to see films.

The group, which has eight cinemas across the South West, has already taken the decision to close its Newton Abbot venue until Spring 2021.

The statement from Scott Cinemas said: “The last seven months has been the most challenging period we can ever remember, not just for our business but for countless others in the leisure and hospitality industries.

“Cinemas mostly rely on major ‘tentpole’ releases for the majority of our operation. These kind of films get the most people through the doors and often shore up the income enough for us to also play smaller more limited releases that do not get as large turnouts.

“For many reasons these tentpole releases have been removed from the calendar for 2020 which leaves the industry in a difficult position, with many cinemas having already closed or having not reopened.

“We remain in a good position to weather the storm but are in a position where some difficult choices and cutbacks have to be made.

“Whilst we intend to keep going, our viability rests on the support of people coming to see films.”

The Barnstaple cinema reopened on July 10, showing some of the films released at the onset of the pandemic such as Onward, Military Wives and Trolls World Tour, as well as classics including The Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, Interstellar and Dirty Dancing.

Christopher Nolan film Tenet, After We Collided, and Bill and Ted Face the Music are among the films which have been released since.

Upcoming releases include The Secret Garden on October 23 and Disney Pixar’s latest offering, Soul, at the end of November.

Auditoria are limited to a maximum of 35 per cent of their capacity to allow for social distancing, and only alternate rows of seats are in use.

Covid-safe measures including screens at service points and hand sanitising stations have also been installed.

Scott Cinemas said going to buy popcorn, drinks or gift cards for future releases are among the ways cinemas can be supported without going to see a film.

The statement continued: “Scott Cinemas and our partners WTW Cinemas have been in this business for 75 years. In that time, cinema has seen off many challengers such as home-video and streaming, with 2018 recording the highest level of admissions in the UK for over 30 years.

“We believe in the magic of the big screen and we’re hugely confident that cinema will bounce back in whatever new world we end up being part of.”