Regal to close 536 U.S. theaters, suspending 40,000 employees
Cineworld is rolling the credits on hundreds of Regal cinemas across the United States.
The theater company announced Monday that, beginning Thursday, it will suspend operations at all 536 of its domestic Regal theaters locations amid the coronavirus pandemic. The temporary closures will impact approximately 40,000 jobs in the country.
Cineworld's decision comes after a difficult summer for businesses around the world, as the spread of COVID-19 has kept many U.S. theaters — particularly those in New York City — closed "without guidance on reopening timing" and studios that "have been reluctant to release [a] pipeline of new films" to the market.
"Without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the U.S. and U.K. — the company's primary markets — with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary fo them to consider coming back to theaters against the backdrop of COVID-19," the company said in a press statement, while company CEO Mooky Greidinger added: “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S., from putting in place robust health and safety measures at our theaters to joining our industry in making a collective commitment to the CinemaSafe protocols to reaching out to state and local officials to educate them on these initiatives."
Greidinger also noted that there has been "no evidence to date linking any COVID cases with cinemas," though New York has not given the chain a route to reopen despite other indoor activities like indoor dining, bowling, and casinos returning to limited operations in recent weeks.
On Friday, MGM, Universal, and James Bond franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced that the tentpole No Time to Die — Daniel Craig's final outing as the iconic spy — was moving from its planned November release date to April 2 of next year, removing one of the only major blockbuster titles from the 2020's theatrical schedule.
Regal indicated that it will continue to monitor the pandemic, which has led to the deaths of roughly 210,000 people in the US., and will communicate future plans regarding a potential return to operations when key markets "have more concrete guidance" on a path to resuming business and studios have a more reliable slate of major titles set for theatrical release.