By Tony Winterburn •
Published: 04 Oct 2020 • 8:23
The James Bond delayed release was the last straw: Regal and Cineworld will reportedly close all theatres in the US and UK next week.
The cinema giant is reportedly planning to write to Boris Johnson and the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, to say that the cinema industry has become ‘unviable’ following the Covid-19 pandemic. It comes after the new James Bond film, which would have attracted many cinema lovers, has been delayed for a second time until the spring.
Yesterday, the 25th James Bond film — No Time to Die — was pushed back to April 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic, denying theatres one of the last major tentpole releases due out this year. Apparently, theatres were counting on Bond, specifically, to arrive on time and help bail them out of poor ticket sales. Sources familiar with the discussions said that Cineworld could close all its UK sites as early as this week, risking the loss of 5,500 jobs.
The chain, which reopened most of its cinemas in July, warned last week that it did not expect admissions to recover to pre-COVID levels until at least 2023. Regal is the second-largest theatrical chain in the U.S., after AMC, while Cineworld is the U.K.’s biggest cinema operator. Cineworld reported a loss of a €1.3b ($1. 6 billion) in the first half of 2020 in recent days, with “no certainty” as to what impact the pandemic could have in the future.
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