Just days after No Time To Die’s release date was pushed back yet again (this time to April 2, 2021—a full year after its originally scheduled release), Variety reports that U.K.-based Cineworld is looking to close theaters in the U.S., U.K., and Ireland. The decision, which Cineworld confirmed to CNN, affects 536 Regal Cinemas locations in the U.S. and an additional 127 theaters in the U.K. The second-largest theater chain in the U.S., Regal Cinemas re-opened in late August with new safety protocols in anticipation of the release of Tenet, but Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated blockbuster wasn’t enough to sustain an industry that was already struggling before the pandemic hit—with no new Star Wars or Avengers movies, 2020 was going to be a tough year.
Cineworld will close all Regal Cinemas locations in the U.S. on Thursday, October 8. It’s unclear if or when those theaters will re-open. It’s a redundant sentiment at this point in the year, but that seems Bad. Regal’s closure certainly doesn’t bode well for other movie theater chains, some of which have turned to offering pricey private rentals in an effort to stay afloat. In an official statement, a representative for Cineworld said:
As major US. markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films. In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19.
Cineworld’s decision affects 45,000 employees, including 5,500 in the U.K. who, according to statements made by Cineworld Action Group, first learned of the impending closures and job losses through media reports: