Regal Cinemas owner Cineworld and cinema chain Odeon have reported a strong return in the U.K. market as cinemas reopen in a post-COVID scenario.

In the U.K. the recovery is led by the strong box office performance of “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.” Cinemas reopened in the U.K. on May 17 and the film led the box office with collections of $6.4 million, including a remarkable $2.5 million on Saturday.

Some 60% of all audiences at Odeon cinemas came to see “Peter Rabbit 2,” with around half making use of the new family ticket offer for one adult and one child.

Odeon sold more than 300,000 tickets sold over the week commencing May 17, making it the chain’s busiest week in over a year, and more than double the attendance of any weekend during the July-November period in 2020, when U.K. cinemas reopened during a lull in the pandemic.

“This weekend’s performance went beyond our expectations as customers were eager to return to the movies and enjoy the full movie experience, including the traditional popcorn which led to strong concession income,” Cineworld said in a statement. Odeon also reported roaring concession sales.

In the U.S., following the opening of an additional 167 cinemas, more than 97% of Regal cinemas across 502 sites have resumed operations. Cinemas in Israel and Poland will reopen at the end of this week and the company anticipates most of its sites reopening by the end of the month.

The Cineworld Group also announced it has received the full $203 million tax refund under the U.S. CARES Act.

“We are thrilled to have our cinemas back in business in the U.S. and U.K. and to welcome movie fans back to the big screen for an exciting and full slate of films,” said Cineworld group CEO Mooky Greidinger. “We are especially pleased with the warm welcome our employees have received, and the positive feedback from returning guests. With the releases next week of ‘Cruella,’ and ‘A Quiet Place 2,’ we expect next weekend’s results to be strong.”

Carol Welch, Odeon U.K. and Ireland MD said: “We have been delighted with the guest response since reopening our doors on Monday. Everyone has missed their favorite activities in the last few months and it is so pleasing that so many returned to experience films in the best way possible – on the big screen. Our family offer really resonated, coupled with the release of ‘Peter Rabbit 2,’ and we are so excited about the host of upcoming new films we have to show throughout the summer and beyond. We will have something for everyone.”

“When combined with improving consumer confidence and the success of the vaccination rollout, we expect a good recovery in attendance over the coming months, noting the record breaking success of ‘F9’ in the Asian market,” Greidinger added. “We are excited for our customers to experience the magic of big screen entertainment again, all made possible by the hard work of our colleagues around the world, and (we) remain committed to be the best place to watch a movie.”