National Lottery Cinema Weekend offers 200,000 free tickets for screenings

Julia Hunt
·2 min read
 Odeon Cinema Home of Premieres in Leicester Square seen with a huge billboard reading
Odeon Cinema in London's Leicester Square (Pietro Recchia / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Film fans are being invited back to the cinema with 200,000 free tickets up for grabs.

The film sector has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic but cinemas are expected to throw open their doors again on 17 May, as part of the roadmap out of lockdown.

And it has been announced that there are plenty of free tickets available on 19 and 20 June as part of the National Lottery Cinema Weekend, which is being held in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI).

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Assuming restrictions are lifted as planned, the special weekend is due to take place at more than 500 cinema sites across the UK.

Over 200,000 free tickets will be available for any movie screening across the weekend as a thank you to National Lottery players for their contribution to film.

 'May The 17th Be With You' displayed at Prince Charles Cinema in London's West End.
Cinemas in England have been closed for much of the time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and are due to reopen on May 17th. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
The Prince Charles Cinema in London's West End (Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Venues, which will have safety measures in place in line with current COVID guidance, will show a range of movies from classics to the latest releases.

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Tim Platt, the BFI’s head of marketing, said: “We are thrilled that so many cinemas across the UK are taking part in Cinema Weekend, welcoming back audiences after such a challenging year. 

"There’s nothing quite like the shared experience of watching film on the big screen, which is an experience we’ve all missed so much."

 Stay at Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives sign seen at the closed Odeon cinema in Leicester square.
Most shops, restaurants and businesses have closed as the second month-long nationwide Covid 19 lockdown begins in England. (Photo by Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Stay at Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives sign seen at the closed Odeon cinema in Leicester Square (Vuk Valcic / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Platt said the support of National Lottery players - who contribute around £30 million to good causes across the UK each week - had been important for the industry, adding: "So what better way to say ‘thank you’ than a free trip to the cinema!”

Details of participating cinemas are available at

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