Cineworld confirms it's closing 127 UK cinemas from Thursday
5 October 2020, 07:04 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 08:48
Cineworld is shutting down 127 cinemas from Thursday after James Bond No Time To Die was delayed.
Cineworld has confirmed it is closing 127 UK cinemas on Thursday due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting thousands of jobs at risk.
The Sunday Times revealed that the company is writing to Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to say the industry is now ‘unviable’.
This comes after huge blockbusters have been delayed, including the premiere of James Bond film No Time To Die.
The big budget film was due to open in November, but has been postponed twice and is now due for release in April 2021.
Hit franchise Fast and Furious was also supposed to release its ninth film, F9, this year, but it has been put on hold until May 21 next year.
Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: "This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets - including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.
"We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was. Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen."
According to reports, the company hopes that their cinemas will be able to reopen doors next year, with staff being asked to take redundancy in the hope of rejoining.
In September, Cineworld reported a $1.6bn (£1.3bn) loss for the six months to June after cinemas were forced to close due to coronavirus lockdowns across the world.
While 561 out of 778 sites worldwide were able to reopen by mid-summer, group revenues still dropped dramatically.
The head of the UK Cinema Association, Phil Clapp, has warned Cineworld won’t be the only theatre company affected.
He told the BBC: "Although cinemas opened in July and have been able to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience, without major new titles then we understand we aren't able to get as many people out of the home as we'd like."
Cineworld's 536 Regal theatres will also shut in the US.
Cineworld said in its recent six-monthly financial report in the US: “There can be no certainty as to the future impact of COVID-19 on the Group.
"If Governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity.
“We have highlighted the potential impact this could have on the Group within our going concern statement in this document.”
Heart.co.uk has reached out to Cineworld for comment.