The cinema chain to close over the Autumn/Winter period in a bid to ensure its future
In what can only be regarded as a shocking move, the UK’s largest cinema chain Cineworld Cinemas has confirmed the temporary suspension of its U.S. and U.K operations from this Thursday.
In a statement released earlier today, Cineworld said: “In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cineworld confirms that it will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its 536 Regal theatres in the U.S. and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the U.K. from Thursday, 8 October 2020.”
Cineworld attributed the planned closure to the lack of tentpole movies in the pipeline which is the lifeblood of the industry. In the statement, Cineworld continued:
“Without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the U.S. and the U.K. — the company’s primary markets — with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theaters against the backdrop of COVID-19. This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable re-openings 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 CEO Mooky Greidinger said. “We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theaters to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was, 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.”
Cineworld’s decision to close its doors comes just days after Universal Pictures and Eon pulled the latest 007 adventure ‘No Time To Die‘ from its intended November release slot. Cinema chains had been banking on the revenue only 007 could generate – and the push back to 2021 has proven to be the straw the broke the camels back.
As of press time, Cineworld is yet to confirm an expected date of re-opening, however, sources close to the chain believe the doors will remain closed until early 2021. Nevertheless, should Warner Bros. stick to its guns and release ‘Dune‘ and ‘Wonder Woman 1984‘ in December as planned, we could see the doors open once again – but sadly, that eventuality relies on many contributing factors – primarily the flattening of the infection rate. And with the spread appearing to be spiraling out of control in the UK and across Europe – the likelihood of this seems extremely remote.
We can only hope that the cinema chain can endure the ongoing storm and survive to reopen its doors when the industry stabilizes. Sadly, with the pandemic showing no signs of relinquishing its stranglehold the viability of the cinema industry seems bleak. If the UK’s biggest cinema chain has been forced to close its doors, it offers a troubling insight into the struggles the smaller independent cinemas are facing on a daily basis.
Worry times for the cinema industry. Keep it real and keep it Future of the Force for the latest updates as they emerge.
The Future of the Force. The future of pop culture writing.
Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager, and Editor-In-Chief of The Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, DC, Marvel, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter @philthecool where he uses the force and babbles frequently!