Regal theaters will be shutting down 536 locations across the United States as a result of the COVID-19 situation on businesses, and up to 40,000 employees may be furloughed in the coming weeks, analysts said. A subsidiary of Cineworld Group, Regal is also closing down 127 theaters in the UK and may also furlough over 5,000 workers in the UK.
The movie theater closures will begin on Thursday in the US, but the theater chain cautioned that the closure will be temporal – without really giving a date for reopening. Following AMC Theaters which is the largest film theater chain in the United States, Regal comes second in the country.
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger disclosed that it was not easy for his management to agree to close down hundreds of theaters across the country, noting that they are aware of the revenue impact and how it will affect employees as well as moviegoers. He revealed that no COVID-19 cases have been linked to any cinemas yet, but it is best to take preemptive measures that will safeguard the health and wellbeing of everyone.
“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S.,” Greidinger said. “The prolonged closures have had a detrimental impact on the release slate for the rest of the year, and, in turn, our ability to supply our customers with the lineup of blockbusters they’ve come to expect from us.”
He noted that the theater chain has not been able to explore open opportunities in target markets, adding that his management will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation to determine when to reopen the theaters again. In fact, the theater chain is shutting down two months after reopening from the coronavirus lockdown.
Given that the theater announced its shutting down after the release of James Bond’s No Time to Die was postponed to 2021, other potential blockbusters that have been shelved for the time being are Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow along with A Quiet Place Part II and Candyman. And to underscore the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has been having a terrible toll on the firm, Cineworld’s stocks plummetted to about $52 last Friday before spiraling down to about $22 again on Monday.