Cinema chain Cineworld announced Monday it would close all of its movie theaters in the United States this week after the new James Bond film’s postponement left a big hole in schedules. According to a Regal news release, the closures, which affect all 536 U.S.-based Regal Cinemas and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues in the U.K., will go into effect Thursday. Some 45,000 employees are impacted. Cineworld did not participate in any ideas for a reopening date, though the company stressed it would “continue to monitor the situation closely.”
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said it was “not a decision we made lightly,” adding the company did “everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S in a statement, “We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our people put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was,” Greidinger added.
Regal is the second-largest exhibitor in the U.S., after AMC Theatres. The company said Sunday it was “considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and U.S. 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.”
Many U.S. theaters have again opened after being affected by the coronavirus in March. But audiences have been slow to return as the country has continued to struggle with spikes and hot zones so far. Christopher Nolan’s thriller “Tenet,” which had been assumed to be a hit before COVID-19 hit, has only made $45 million domestically contrasted to $262 million overseas. Cinemas remain shut in New York and Los Angeles, two of North America’s largest markets, as coronavirus diagnoses approach 7.5 million in the U.S. Nearly 210,000 Americans have died in the pandemic.
“Without this new launch, Cineworld can’t offer consumers in both the U.S. and U.K. – the company’s primary markets with the breadth of rigid commercial films essential for them to notice coming back to cinemas against the backdrop of COVID-19,” Regal’s news launch said. Producers said last week that the 25th James Bond thriller, “No Time to Die,” slated to open in November, is being held up till April 2, 2021, due to the pandemic’s effect on theatrical business.