The boss of Cineworld has said that the company’s decision to close its cinemas across the UK and the US “is not a decision we made lightly”.
“We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets,” said chief executive Mooky Greidinger.
The cinema chain confirmed it would suspend its operations from Thursday, which will put 45,000 jobs at risk.
The mass closures will affect around 5,500 British jobs and the news comes after the release of the latest James Bond film was delayed again. The release date for the new 007 “No Time to Die” has now been moved to April next year.
The company did not give a date for reopening its 663 cinemas, which include 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres across the United Kingdom.
Mr Greidinger said the company “cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was” to close the sites.
“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen,” he said.
Eyes have turned to other china chains around the UK to see if they will face the same fate.
Tim Richards, founder and chief executive of the Vue cinema chain, said the company had put safety measures in place at its theatres and noted there was “pent up demand like we haven’t seen ever before” among customers to go out.
He added: “Our problem right now is we have no movies and this [the delay to the Bond film] was a big blow for us.
“We are likely going to make it through.”
Mr Richard’s added that the Vue cinema chain’s goal is to try to keep as many of its 5,500 workers as possible.
Mr Richards said that outside the United States, many cinemas had now re-opened, “Looking globally right now, 75% of screens, maybe as high as 80% of screens are open.
“Even if you look at the numbers that Tenet generated in the UK it is going to get very close to Christopher Nolan’s previous film Interstellar, maybe 80-90% of what it did.
“The audience is there and I think what we are seeing is the US studios, in particular, are taking a very US-centric view and forgetting that 80% of global box office comes offshore from North America.”
This morning with the opening of the British markets, Cineworld shares tank 30% after the FTSE 250 multiplex chain announced the temporary closures of all its UK and US cinemas
Cineworld shares crushed as much as 56 per cent to 17p in early trade, although they settled to trade down 30 per cent by 0930. They are down about 90 per cent since the start of the year, when they were trading at around 220p, before the pandemic struck.
Last month Cineworld unveiled £3.1billion losses for the first half of the year, at the time they said the company would ‘likely’ be forced to raise further cash if governments brought in further restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, thousands of Cineworld staff look set to lose their jobs as the new Government support scheme that replaces furlough from the end of the month only covers those who can work at least a third of their normal hours.
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Editor-in-Chief | Carl D. Pearson has been involved in British politics and media from an early age, with the key knowledge of what it takes to run a news organisation for the 21st century. Mr Pearson, as Editor-in-chief, is responsible for supervising the daily tasks of publishing media and content to UNN’s website and various platforms.