Regal Cinema closing; others may follow

Courtesy Photo/The Bison

 Matthew Gower

Assistant News Editor

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, movie theatres have struggled to stay afloat. 

Despite some states reopening their theatres weeks ago, attendance to movie theaters is still down compared to what it once was.

According to The Verge, “Regal Cinemas, the second largest theatre chain in the US with 536 theaters and 7,076 screens, will officially close all its doors in the United States for the second time during the global pandemic.”

The Verge continued, “In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regal will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its Regal theaters in the U.S. as of Friday, Oct. 9.

 Regal Cinemas’ official statement on their website states, “Regal will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations 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.”

The chain has also announced 127 theaters will also be shut down in the United Kingdom leaving over 45,000 people without jobs or furloughed without a plan in place for reopening.

This news comes shortly after many studios such as Disney announced the delay of many films into 2021 like “Black Widow,” “Eternals” and “West Side Story.” The upcoming James Bond film “No Time to Die” has also been delayed until April 2021.

These film delays are not the direct cause of the closures throughout the US and the UK, but with attendance to theaters already down and many showing films that have been out for years (with the exception of films like “Tenet” and “The New Mutants” each film earning over $300 million and $31 million globally, respectively) many would-be audience members are not showing up to Regal theaters for one reason or another.

“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat…We cannot operate for a long time without a product,” CEO of Cineworld [Regal Cinema’s parent company] Mooky Greidinger said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

However, the closures of Regal Cinemas theaters do not mark the end of movie theaters as AMC and Cinemark have announced that 80 percent of their theaters will remain open. Both AMC and Cinemark have stated that they can only hold out part of 2021 if a change is not made soon enough.

Each theatre chain’s financial records show that “AMC lost “$2.7 billion in the first six months of 2020, and Cinemark lost $230 million.”

Some of the revenue lost was a result of having to throw away millions of dollars of perishable food items and the cost of rent for their theaters.

When asked on CNBC for comment about when reopening may occur, Greidinger stated, “Might be a month, might be two months, until the…COVID-19 situation will be clearer. 

Maybe there will already be a vaccination, but at the end of the day we must have a clear lineup of movies before we reopen.”

The timeline for reopening Regal’s theaters remains unclear. 

For now, the biggest obstacles for the chain are the lack of an effective COVID-19 vaccine and movie studios continuing to delay the release of new films in theaters according to Cineworld’s CEO Mooky Greidinger.

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