UK cinemas could reopen as early as mid-July in time for the launch of the latest Christopher Nolan film, the boss of a leading chain has said.

Tim Richards, chief executive of Vue Cinemas – which has nine screens at Eastleigh’s Swan Centre – said he was “hopeful” that cinemas could open in time for the release date of Tenet on July 17.

He told the BBC that the company is working with the government on ways the industry could operate while ensuring social distancing.

“What we are trying to do is work with the government to demonstrate that we are not like sporting fixtures or music concerts,” Mr Richards said.

“We can actually control how many people go into our cinema at any given time. We have the ability to schedule our films separately and we have the ability to control entrances and exits for customers.

“We have operating systems in place today which allow social distancing and cocooning within the cinema for couples, individuals or families who want to watch a movie.”