UPDATE: Cineworld has confirmed the temporary closure of all 536 of its Regal theaters in the U.S., impacting around 40,000 jobs. The theaters will close their doors on Thursday, October 8, parent-company Cineworld said in a statement that cited pandemic-related issues as the cause. We’re still awaiting confirmation regarding Cineworld cinemas in the U.K. and Ireland. The original story appears below.
Regal Cinemas owner Cineworld is considering the temporary closure of all of its movie theaters in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland this week as it struggles to cope with dwindling audiences due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and U.S. cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached,” the company said in a tweet posted on Sunday, October 4. “Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”
We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached. Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.
— Cineworld Cinemas (@cineworld) October 4, 2020
Prior to Cineworld’s announcement, multiple media reports over the weekend suggested the final straw for the company had been the decision to delay the release of the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, until April 2021, due to the pandemic. Theaters will have been relying on the high-profile production to boost income at this challenging time.
Regal is the second-largest theater chain in the U.S. after AMC Theaters and operates around 7,076 screens at 536 sites in 42 states, while Cineworld runs around 128 theaters in the U.K. and Ireland. It’s not yet clear if all of the sites would close or just some, or when they would reopen.
Regal, along with AMC, closed its U.S. theaters in March 2020 as the pandemic began to take hold. Five months later, in August, the chains began to gradually reopen their locations. But with major studios continuing to play around with release dates, and the pandemic showing little sign of abating, a vicious cycle has developed where audiences won’t attend if there’s nothing new to see, and studios won’t release new movies until theaters stay open and audiences start returning.
Cineworld is expected to offer an update on the situation in the coming days.
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