It appears that Regal Cinemas is set to close the book on the 2020 film year and close all of its locations until further notice.
According to sources speaking with Variety, Cineworld – the parent company of Regal Cinemas – is preparing to shutter all 543 of its locations in the U.S. and all locations in the U.K. and Ireland this week. All staff will reportedly be notified on Monday.
The reports began surfacing following the news that No Time to Die would be moving from Nov. to April 2021.
U.K.-based Cineworld is expected to send a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden explaining that the exhibition sector is “unviable” due to the lack of tentpole releases and nervous audiences. This will put 5,500 jobs at risk across the U.K.
It is understood that as of Saturday evening U.K. time, the news had not been communicated to the staff, and the news was primarily being shared via news reports.
As it stands right now there has been no indication of when the venues may reopen, but it appears the closure could last into 2021. If true, the closure of the second-largest U.S. theater chain all but guarantees that major film releases are done for 2020. There are some remaining large titles on the schedule – Pixar’s Soul, Wonder Woman 1984, and Dune to name a few – but the majority of those will probably move to 2021, and a few may even consider home releases.
With Europe appearing to be entering a second wave of the pandemic, and with the combination of the flu season arriving in the Northern hemisphere, we fully expect this is just the first of several such announcements. With AMC poised to run out of cash reserves within six months, it seems the film industry that emerges from this event may be a very different beast indeed.