Cineworld CEO Blames NY Governor's Inflexibility As Reason For Regal Closure In US

Cineworld is closing its Regal Cinemas in the United States, and the company's CEO is placing the blame on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. After days of rumors and deliberation, Cineworld made the decision official on Monday. New York City, along with Los Angeles, is one of the key markets in the United State theater industry. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger blames the governor's "inflexibility" for the cinema industry's dire situation in the United States. "It is not an easy situation, but we will get through this and I think it is the right decision," Greidinger tells Deadline. "I believe that people should understand that cinemas all over the world, and for sure in the U.S., are in a way closing down in view of Governor Cuomo’s inflexibility. The Governor allows in-restaurant dining, bowling alleys, casinos and others, but he will not allow cinemas. Cinemas have taken huge steps and made a big investment in creating ‘CinemaSafe’ protocols and we can clearly say after operating the cinemas for over two months, that we are offering a safe environment for our customers.

"There is no rationale. We received messages like “cinema is not essential” and we fail to understand why other indoor activities are essential, but cinema excluded. Other than that, we never received a real explanation as to why New York, which had great success in the war against COVID in general, does not allow us to come back like it’s been done all over the world. Cinemas have been open all over the world and in the U.S. for over two months now and there have been no COVID cases up to now, thankfully. The safety precautions in cinemas are very good and they are very effective. We have a lot of busy shows in Central Europe with the local product, but there is no doubt after what happened with Tenet, the studios will not release movies without New York."

Cineworld's decision to close comes after MGM and Universal's decision to delay the next James Bond movie, No Time to Die, into 2021. That delay follows a similar move from Marvel Studios, which pushed back Black Widow's debut. Tenet's flimsy domestic box office performance helped inspire those decisions. That makes Warner Bros.'s Dune and Wonder Woman 1984, which has already seen a series of delays, the only tentpole blockbusters left on the 2020 calendar. Many consider delays for those films to be inevitable, especially as experts warn that winter weather will only intensify the spread of COVID-19. With few to no upcoming big audience draws, there's little reason for indoor theaters to remain open.

Greidinger did state that if Wonder Woman 1984 remains in its Christmas Day release slot, then Cineworld may reopen Regal Cinemas. Moviegoers will have to wait to see how the pandemic plays out over the autumn months.

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images