The world’s second-largest cinema operator, Cineworld, finally confirmed on Monday that its movie theaters in the US and UK will close temporary amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Starting Thursday, all 536 of Cineworld’s Regal Cinemas across the US and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the UK will suspend operations, impacting 45,000 jobs – around 6,000 in the UK alone.
“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status,” the company said.
News that the global chain is set to close hundreds of venues has been circulating online since Sunday morning. The chain said on Sunday evening that it was considering the move, before confirming it on Monday.
The company, which has already been scrambling for additional funds, said the decision was not “made lightly,” but it could not cope with the lack of demand as major US markets, mainly New York, remain closed, and studios are pushing back major blockbusters. The latest delay of the James Bond film ‘No Time to Die’, announced last week, appears to have been the last straw for the chain.
“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said as cited by the Wall Street Journal. “We cannot operate for a long time without a product.”
Apart from the new Bond film, which was expected to attract filmgoers and give a boost to the troubled industry, other releases have been rescheduled for next year, such as Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Widow’ and Paramount Pictures’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick.’ Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi action thriller ‘Tenet’, which opened at the end of August, was one of the few big releases after the lockdowns ended, while it’s still unclear if Warner Brothers’ ‘Dune’ remake will make it to the big screen this year.
Cineworld stock crashed nearly 50 percent, hitting record lows at the start of trading in London on Monday.
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