As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, hopes that movies will start returning to theaters this fall and winter are dwindling. This week, it was announced that the upcoming James Bond adventure No Time to Die has been removed from the 2020 release schedule and will instead hit theaters on April 2, 2021. The film had been set for a November 11th release. Now, it appears that the No Time to Die delay will have another impact beyond just disappointed movie fans. The U.K. theater chain Cineworld is reportedly closing all 128 of its locations due to the industry becoming "unviable".
According to the Sunday Times (via The Daily Mail), the chain is expected to make the announcement as early as Sunday. Closure of the 128 U.K. and Ireland locations for the theater chain would put 5500 thousand jobs at risk at the world's second-largest cinema chain. Per the report, the bosses at Cineworld Group PLC are preparing to write British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden saying that the film industry has become "unviable" due to the pandemic as movie studios postpone the release of big budget films.
It's important to note that while No Time to Die is among the latest film to delay its release, it's not the only one. This week, the ninth Fast & Furious film, officially titled F9, also pushed back its release date, moving from April 2, 2021 to May 28, 2021 -- No Time to Die took the vacated April 2nd date. Prior to that, Marvel also pushed back several of its planned releases, including Black Widow. That film, which was expected to open in November, has been pushed back to May 7, 2021.
As for Cineworld, while there has been no official comment about the matter from Cineworld Group PLC, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association Phil Clapp told the Daily Mail that a Cineworld closure would be a serious blow.
"The announcement is probably the most serious blow to UK cinema operators of a number of similar announcements over the past few weeks and will undoubtedly cause a significant number of cinemas to close again."
What do you think? Are you surprised that Cineworld may be closing due to shifts in the theatrical release schedule? Do you think something similar could happen in the United States if more films get delayed? Let us know in the comments.