Cineworld: why the chain is temporarily closing 128 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK and Ireland, putting 45,000 jobs at risk

The company revealed that the delaying of film releases by studios was a major part of its decision to close

Cineworld has confirmed that it will close all of its cinemas from Thursday 8 October 2020, after struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, including all of its Scottish branches

The cinema chain reopened some of its branches in July, after temporarily closing in March due to the lockdown, but all of its UK and US outlets will now temporarily close again.

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    Cineworld has confirmed it will temporarily close all of its 127 branches in the UK, and its 536 Regal theatres in the US (Photo: Shutterstock)

    Why is Cineworld closing?

    All of Cineworld’s branches are set to close on a temporary basis once again because of a "challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

    Chief executive of Cineworld, Mooky Greidinger, said, "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.”

    Mr Greidinger said the chain is both grateful for and proud of the work that employees put into adapting its cinemas in order to adhere to new Covid-19 protocols.

    The company revealed that the delaying of film releases by studios was a major part of its decision to close. The news comes just days after filmmakers announced the next James Bond film, No Time To Die, was to be delayed for the second time, until April next year.

    "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,” the chain explained.

    Which cinemas are closing?

    Cineworld has confirmed it will temporarily close all of its 128 branches in the UK and Ireland, and its 536 Regal theatres in the US, from Thursday 8 October. Picturehouse cinemas, which are owned by Cineworld, will also be affected.

    The closures will impact a total of 45,000 employees, 6,000 of who are in the UK and Ireland.

    When will cinemas reopen?

    It’s not yet known when the chain could reopen branches. Cineworld has said it will monitor the situation and any plans for studios to release their major films.

    The company stressed that its main priorities are the safety of both customers and staff, alongside cash preservation and cost reduction.

    As noted in Cineworld’s Interim Results, which were announced on 24 September 2020, the business is currently assessing “several sources of additional liquidity and all liquidity raising options are being considered.”

    Mr Greidinger explained that Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will then 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."