You are here: Home » International » News » Companies
Business Standard

Cineworld Group to close US, UK screens after James Bond movie delay

The move comes after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on Friday canceled the November debut of the new James Bond movie, pulling the plug on one of the few big films left on the 2020 release calendar

Topics
Coronavirus

Thomas Seal & Mark Burton | Bloomberg  |  London 

Cineworld Group, cinema, UK, theatre
In the US, Cineworld’s Regal Entertainment Group is likely to close all its operations while current circumstances persist

Cineworld Group is set to shutter its theaters in the UK and the US as the continues to heap pressure on the film industry, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The move comes after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on Friday canceled the November debut of the new James Bond movie, pulling the plug on one of the few big films left on the 2020 release calendar. In the U.S., Cineworld’s Regal Entertainment Group is likely to close all its operations while current circumstances persist, the person said. Details of Regal’s plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The London-listed group could suspend operations at its UK venues as soon as this week, and is writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson this weekend to warn that delays to blockbuster releases have made the industry unviable, the person said, confirming details reported earlier by the Sunday Times.

The virus has slammed consumer confidence with the UK economy the hardest hit in Europe, contracting more than 20 per cent in the first half. With infections surging again after pubs, restaurants and cinemas reopened over the summer, the threat of renewed restrictions has dashed hopes for a quick rebound.


Cineworld’s plan to close its US locations isn’t definite, and a final decision isn’t likely to be made until Monday or Tuesday, the person said. The UK closures could be announced as soon as Monday in a move that could put as many as 5,500 jobs at risk, he said.

chart
With MGM’s No Time to Die delayed for a second time, and now scheduled for release in April, movie-theater operators are facing up to a grim reality. Before MGM’s decision, numerous other major pictures had been pushed back.

Theater bosses had been hoping that the industry’s prospects would be starting to turn around by now, with AMC Entertainment Holdings and others expressing confidence that the release of Tenet and other blockbusters would help to boost ticket sales. In the four weeks since its US release on September 3, the $200 million production generated just a little over $40 million. Fear of catching Covid-19, social-distancing rules, and a continued shutdown in New York and Los Angeles are all keeping fans away. The industry received another blow as Disney made the surprise announcement that it would debut Mulan on its own streaming service, while Warner Bros. decided to push back the planned October release of Wonder Woman 1984 to Christmas Day.


Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, October 05 2020. 01:09 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU