Cineworld is closing temporarily closing its branches in the both the UK and the US from Thursday, the cinema chain has confirmed.
While it told the public via Twitter yesterday that Cineworld’s final decision on closures had not yet been reached, the group announced in a statement this morning that it would be “temporarily suspending operations” at its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK, as well as its 536 Regal cinemas in the US, due to “an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape” and “sustained key market closures due to the the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The chain explained that, with major US markets remaining closed and studios reluctant to release new films, its cinemas “cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK with the breadth of strong commercial films” that would coax them back to theatres during the pandemic.
“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,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld said.
“We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres 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,” he continued.
Cineworld revealed the closures are set to impact approximately 45,000 employees, including 5,500 jobs in the UK according to BBC News.
The announcement arrives just days after the 25th instalment in the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die, was delayed for a second time, from November to April 2021.
The last few months have seen another slate of films, set for release towards the end of 2020, pushed back to next year, including Black Widow, Eternals, Death on the Nile and Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.