'The Empire Strikes Back' Will Be Re-Released In 4K To Help Re-Open U.K. Cinemas

The Force may be with U.K. cinemas, which will receive a boost from the remastered 4K edition Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back as they re-open their doors this July. Disney is screening The Empire Strikes Back 4K edition for U.K. audiences as the country's theaters open as part of the government's economic recovery plan. This will mark the first time this edition of the 1980 film will be shown in theaters.

Variety reports that U.K. cinemas will receive a boost from The Empire Strikes Back as they re-open theaters this July. Disney is letting the 4K remastered edition of the iconic Star Wars film, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, out of the Disney vault among several other Disney titles for U.K. exhibitors, who are eyeing a July 4 reopening date.

To date, the 4K edition of The Empire Strikes Back, which was the second title in the original trilogy and directed by Irvin Kershner, has only ever been available on the streaming platform Disney+ and on Blu-ray, where it was released in late March as part of a 4K release of all nine Skywalker Saga films, including Star Wars: The Phantom MenaceStar Wars: Attack of the ClonesStar Wars: Revenge of the SithStar Wars: A New HopeStar Wars: The Empire Strikes BackStar Wars: Return of the JediStar Wars: The Force Awakens, The Rise of Skywalker as well as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Because of the recency of these remasters, this will also mark the first time a Star Wars film from the original trilogy will ever be screened in theaters in 4K. So it will definitely be a draw for U.K. cinemas, which are the last businesses to open in the government's economic recovery plan after more than three months of closures due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With coronavirus cases in the U.K. slowly dropping, this may be the boost that theaters need to get back to business.

European cinema giant Vue will show the film in the U.K., which is also eyeing an early July re-opening for most of its U.K. cinemas.  Vue released several coronavirus measures it plans to enforce across its venues, including physically isolating family groups through online booking systems, staggering film times to maintain social distancing, and introducing enhanced cleaning and employee protection protocols. Of the major theater chains in the U.K, Cineworld also confirmed that it will re-open its U.K. and U.S. theaters on July 10.