Cineworld has confirmed that it is closing 536 Regal theatres in the U.S. and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Thursday as coronavirus continues to ravage the exhibition market.
In a market update on Monday, Cineworld Group said 45,000 employees will be affected by the closure, which it said follows the reluctance on the part of the studios to “release their pipeline of new films” at a time when many theatres are unable to welcome customers.
Major releases including James Bond’s No Time To Die have been delayed more than once, while other features have moved online, such as Disney’s Mulan and Tom Hanks’ Greyhound.
Cineworld said its New York operations, in particular, had been hit hard, with theatres remaining closed and there being little light at the end of the tunnel.
The company said it would continue to monitor the situation and is awaiting “more concrete guidance” on reopenings. It added that it is “assessing several sources of additional liquidity and all liquidity raising options are being considered.”
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said: “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.
“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 and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”