Cineplex Plans to Start Reopening in Late June

Canada's Cineplex theater company plans to start reopening theaters in late June. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, the Toronto-based exhibitor said on Monday that it will open six theaters in Alberta on June 26 and is hoping to have the rest of their domestic theaters open for business in early July in time for the return of major movies to theaters. Specific reopening dates will be contingent on guidelines issued by government and health authorities in each market as regulations vary. Cineplex initially closed all of its 165 theaters in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"In all markets where Cineplex is permitted by government and health authorities, it plans to reopen as many of its locations as it can on July 3, 2020 (or soon thereafter as permitted by law)," Cineplex said in a statement.

Cineplex's planned reopening is in line with theater reopening in the United States, with AMC announcing last week that they plan to have most of their locations open by July.

In addition to announcing the reopening of its theaters, Cineplex also noted that the company will go to court with the U.K.-based Cineworld Group after the company pulled it's $2.1 billion takeover deal, reportedly without Cineworld specifying the breach of merger agreements that prompted them to abandon the transaction. On Friday, Cineworld -- which owns Regal Cinemas in the United States -- announced that they had called off their purchase of Cineplex. However, Cineplex's Monday statement indicated that the company had planned for Cineworld's decision.

"Cineworld's decision to abandon the transaction was a scenario that Cineplex had considered and planned for," the statement said. "Cineplex has developed a robust contingency plan for operating its business and improving its financial position on a go forward basis as one of Canada's leading entertainment media companies."

Cineplex's planned reopening schedule targets the upcoming releases of major studio tentpoles that Hollywood and the entertainment industry hopes will see people head back into theaters after months of screens being dark due to the coronavirus pandemic. Christopher Nolan's eagerly anticipated Tenet had been set to be the first major film to screen once theaters returned with a July 17 release date, but on Friday Warner Bros. announced that Tenet's release was being delayed by two weeks to July 31. Now, the first major film set to open in theaters is Disney's Mulan, a film that had initially been set to release on March 27 but was delayed to July 24 due to the pandemic.

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