Hours after news surfaced Cineworld was shuttering all locations in the United Kingdom until 2021, the company has announced a similar decision for all Regal Cinemas in the United States. The latest round of closings is the company's direct response to MGM delaying No Time to Die, a movie that was bumped from November to next April. With No Time to Die off the 2020 release slate for exhibitors, that leaves just Warner Brothers' Dune and Wonder Woman 1984, two movies all but guaranteed to be pushed back even further should more chains choose to follow suit.
Regal is the second-largest theater chain in the United States behind AMC Theatres and as of now, it's unclear when the company plans to reopen the locations, both stateside and abroad. The closures are expected to impact at least 5,500 employees in the United Kingdom and upwards of 28,000 employees in the United States.
According to a Variety report, the chains could be closed until next year at the earliest. The news first surfaced via an advance peek at the front page of Britain's The Sunday Times. Cineworld Action Group, an employee group that's partnered with Bectu to provide an employee union, commented on the matter, revealing the entire group found out about the closures through social media.
We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic. Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices. However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful.— Cineworld Action Group (@cineactiongroup) October 3, 2020
As of this writing, the employees have yet to be contacted by the chain.
"We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic," Cineworld Action Group tweeted. "Workers have been left out of discussions that should've included our voices. However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful."
National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) head John Fithian told Variety this week should the industry have to wait until a vaccine is introduced, most chains will be forced to go out of business.
"If we don't have any movies until we're fully vaccinated as a world, a lot of the theater companies are going to be gone and the theaters themselves won't be there," the exec said. "So your infrastructure to play your movies and get grosses will not be the same. This idea of waiting out the pandemic to make your movies more profitable doesn't make sense to me. There won't be as much of an industry left to play your movies in if you do that."