Regal Cinemas Owner Cineworld Considers Temporary Closure Of US, UK Theaters

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On the heels of Hollywood’s decision to postpone the James Bond film “No Time To Die” premiere until next spring, the world’s second-largest movie theater chain and its U.S. division said they are considering temporarily closing all of their cinemas, according to Reuters.

Cineworld and Regal Cinemas, its U.S. subsidiary, employ 37,482 people in 787 theaters in the U.S., Britain and central Europe and 546 locations in the U.S., Reuters reported.

“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 statement, Reuters reported. “Once a decision has been made, we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”

Phil Clapp, CEO of the U.K. Cinema Association, said the Cineworld closure mirrors the challenges faced by the movie theater industry, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“I think at the moment, without any major titles between now and the end of the year there are few other options for many venues,” he said, according to the report. “Cinema is a customer business and when customers can’t be persuaded to come back because there aren’t the film titles there, the options you have to continue operating are very limited.”

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Universal Pictures moved the Bond film to April 2, 2021, from its original November release date amid a renewed wave of COVID-19 cases.

While two-thirds of the nation’s cinemas have reopened, box-office receipts reveal the public is not ready to return to the movies. U.S. box office revenues are expected to drop to $6.5 billion this year, down from $11.4 billion in 2019, the lowest in 25 years. As a result, studios have held back releasing blockbuster movies.

“You can’t blame a studio or director for holding back the release of a film,” said Paul Glantz, co-founder of Midwest movie theater chain Emagine Entertainment Inc. “You’ve got to have enough theaters open throughout the United States and the rest of the world to ensure you get the proper audience exposure.”

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