UPP Re-opening in May 2021

UPP Re-opening in May 2021

Apr 3, 2021 | News

It’s been a while since we’ve all been able to sit inside an auditorium and lose ourselves in the magic cinema, but – fingers crossed – that day isn’t too far away.

Closed since December, cinemas have been eagerly looking ahead to the date that they are allowed to re-open (all things being well with coronavirus infection rates and the vaccination roll-out). The Ultimate Picture Palace is committed to re-opening as soon as possible, so – with a spoonful of cautious optimism – we have started booking a programme to welcome you back from Monday 17th May.


There are some fantastic films available for you to enjoy at the UPP in May and June. Thanks to award season going ahead as usual (in not-so-normal circumstances) we are able to bring you many of the films that scooped up nominations and wins at this year’s BAFTAs and Oscars. Judas and the Black MessiahMinariSound of Metal, and Academy Award Best Picture winner Nomadland all feature in our first four weeks of re-opening. Alongside these award-winning films, we will also show new films by some of our favourite independent filmmakers, including Francis Lee’s period drama Ammonite and Christian Petzold’s mysterious German-language romance Undine.

The urge to see those vast landscapes on the big-screen in films such as Minari and Nomadland also got us thinking about our classics season. So we’ve booked three films that celebrate the pastoral beauty of America; David Lynch’s The Straight Story, Terrance Malick’s Days of Heaven, and Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces.


Similar to when we re-opened in September last year, your safety is our priority. As a result, the UPP will still be operating with a reduced capacity, allocated seating, and a range of extra safety measures in place.

We have blocked off every other row so that there is adequate space between you and your fellow film lovers. We have also blocked off certain seats on each row so that there is a safe distance between each booking. We have updated our seating plan in a way to maximise both your safety and the financial viability of running the UPP during the pandemic. This includes a range of single seats, double seats, triple seats, and even a quadruple!

We ask that you consider booking seats that suit your party size when buying your tickets online – however, if you want one ticket and all the single-seat options are sold out, please book any seat that is still available.

Other safety features at the cinema will include: perspex screens installed at the box office and the bar; hand sanitiser stations at the entrance, front, and back of the auditorium; bathrooms operating on a one-in-one-out basis; face coverings are required to be worn when in the auditorium.

We were also generously awarded a Safety Grant from the Culture Recovery Fund earlier this year which allowed us to purchase two Rensair Air Purification systems. These portable hospital-grade air purifiers have been installed at the front and the back of the auditorium. Originally developed for Scandinavian hospitals, they remove 99.97% of airborne viruses, bacteria and other pollutants, making your visit to the cinema even safer.


Tickets will go on sale at midday on Wednesday 5th May.

We are also very excited to announce that we are taking part in a scheme set up by Film London in partnership with independent cinemas around the country to offer cheaper tickets for young adults. When we re-open, we will launch the UPP’s Five Pound Film Pass. This will be a free to sign-up for membership which allows 15-25-year-olds to book £5 tickets for any screenings at the UPP (except special events). Full details of the scheme will be available on the website from Wednesday 5th May.

We are really looking forward to welcoming you back!

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Plan your visit

Our beautiful art deco inspired auditorium can be found just off East Oxford's Cowley Road. We are open 7 days a week. We open the cinema and box office 30 minutes before the scheduled start time of each film, and the Box Office then closes 10 minutes after the film starts. We don’t show adverts, just a couple of trailers, so don't be late as the film itself starts very close to the advertised time!