The second-largest cinema chain in the US is temporarily closing its doors nationwide. Cineworld, the parent company of Regal, announced that it will be suspending operations of its 536 Regal theaters as of Thursday, October 8. The suspension also affects 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas in the UK.
Cineworld had only just reopened theaters in August. The closures will impact approximately 40,000 employees across the US, the company announced. It also affects 5,500 employees in the UK, The Guardian reports.
Today’s announcement follows news over the weekend that the release of the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, has again been pushed back to April 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic. Theaters were counting on the latest 007 installments to drive sagging ticket sales.
“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger tells The Wall Street Journal. “We cannot operate for a long time without a product.”
Cineworld reported a loss of $1.6 billion in the first half of 2020. The largest US theater chain, AMC, has also been hit hard by the pandemic.
The Cineworld closure is indefinite. The reopening will depend upon the release schedule set by the studios, according to Regal.
“Regal will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations 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,” the company says in a statement.