One of the areas hardest hit by the global pandemic is entertainment. With very few exceptions, every aspect of show biz has been clipped, and maybe none have felt the pain more than movie theaters. Gathering in large groups is still discouraged or flat-out restricted in many places, and now we are starting to see some of the devastating consequences this is having on the industry. Cineworld Cinemas, the second-largest theater chain in the world, announced it will close all of it’s U.S. and U.K. movie theaters temporarily as soon as this week.
The move is expected to result in as many as 45,000 workers being left unemployed. Studios have been reluctant to release major films during the pandemic, which has left movie theaters without the typical big draws for such flicks as the new James Bond Film. The premiere of the newest installment of the Bond franchise, “No Time To Die,” was originally set to premiere in April of 2020. The film was then moved to a November release, and just this week it was announced that the studio is now targeting a April 2021 for the premiere. Two other major releases, “Wonder Woman: 1984” and Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow,” have both been pushed back from their expected fall releases.
At this point, it’s pretty clear that the theaters will be waiting for updates from the studios on releases before forging ahead with reopening plans. Cineworld Chief Executive Mooky Greidinger told Sky News that the operations might resume in “two months, or a bit longer.”
The closures will impact 536 Regal theaters across the U.S. and it’s 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the U.K.