With the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, officially being pushed to 2021, the shockwaves are now reverberating throughout the movie industry. Cineworld, the second largest global exhibitor, has confirmed that they are now being forced to suspend all operations across the U.S. and the U.K. As of Oct. 9th, some 536 Regal Cinema locations and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres will be closing their doors indefinitely, affecting approximately 45,000 jobs. Here is the company’s official statement:
“We can confirm that all Cineworld cinemas across the UK and Ireland will be temporarily closed from Friday (October 9) until further notice.
This is not a decision we made lightly. We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable re-openings of our cinemas and we are so very grateful for our employees who implemented the new protocols, which resulted in lots of positive feedback from customers who visited our cinemas and felt safe. We were very proud of the fact that cinemas were open for 2 months and there was not one COVID case resulting from visiting the cinema. We cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.
As we have done to date, we will do everything we can to save livelihoods and the company – this is an extremely delicate and tricky balance. We continue to work with the Cinema Association, to ensure we are lobbying government to support our employees and the industry which has so much cultural significance.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations once film studios are able to bring their pipeline of major movie releases back to the big screen. We can assure you that once a line-up of movie releases is confirmed, we will be ready to re-open our cinemas, as we did in July, with the same safety levels you have already seen while at the same time keeping the great experience that you are used to getting from us.
A big thank you goes to you, our movie-loving customers; your health and wellbeing has always been our priority during this difficult time and we look forward to welcoming you back as soon as possible to enjoy a full slate of films.”
It is expected that they will have to raise new funds to reopen, just as AMC did earlier this year. However, AMC is still not in great shape either. Considering the lack of new releases over the next few months, it is entirely possible that more theatres will be forced to shut down. Meanwhile, the National Association of Theatre Owners, the Motion Picture Association and Directors Guild of America recently sent a letter to U.S. Congress asking for economic support. Whether or not that will have any effect remains to be seen.