Cineworld Is Considering Closing Its Theaters For the Rest of the Year

Image of a theater being disinfected in China.

Image of a theater being disinfected in China.
Photo: STR (Getty Images)

So the whole going-to-see-movies-during-a-pandemic thing really isn’t working out, huh? Who could have seen that coming.

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Okay, not to keep beating this extremely deceased horse, but it keeps coming up: Variety reports that, in response to the No Time to Die delay that puts the last possible big theatrical release of 2020 back in 2021, Cinemaworld, the company behind Regal Cinema, is considering the possibility of closing all its theaters again, possibly for the rest of the year.

As Variety tells it, the company, which owns 570 Regal Cinema locations in the United States and 99 locations in the United Kingdom, is strongly considering closing 543 of its US locations and all of its UK and Ireland locations. Variety’s sources indicate that the company is planning on contacting the UK government to inform them that, with no tentpole movies coming out in the foreseeable future, the theater business is unviable and the locations can’t stay open. This decision was, reportedly, made without notifying any employees of the theaters, which include 5,500 people in the United Kingdom alone.

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In a statement via Twitter, Cineworld confirmed that the possibility is being considered, though a final decision hasn’t been made. If it does happen, it’ll probably put an end, at least for now, to the biology experiment that has been trying to run cinemas during the coronavirus pandemic.

As for when we’ll see theaters open again, No Time to Die is currently slated for April 2, 2021. And who knows if it’ll be safe to see movies again by then. Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune are both still slated for December, but the chances those will be delayed are… pretty high. Especially if Cineworld closes.

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