The cinema chain, which owns the Cineworld, Regal and Picturehouse brands, has not said when it plans to reopen. Officials are blaming the lack of tentpole movies bringing viewers back into screens after the new James Bond film and Marvel’s Black Widow were pushed back to 2021.
The move — which sparked shockwaves across the industry when it first came to light over the weekend — impacts 536 Regal cinemas in the U.S. and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse in the U.K., and comes into force from Oct. 8.
“As major US. markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films,” it said in a statement. “In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19.”
“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 – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry,” said CEO Mooky Greidinger.