Cineworld, the world’s second-largest cinema chain which operates more than 500 movie theaters in the U.S., is once again closing its doors as the Covid-19 crisis causes studios to push big-budget films to 2021 and beyond.
The group’s decision to suspend U.K. and U.S. operations follows news that the latest James Bond film, No Time To Die, has been delayed a second time until April 2021; it was originally slated to appear in cinemas in April this year.
Operations will be suspended from Thursday, a move the company pins on “an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The company says its decision will affect some 45,000 workers.
Cineworld’s share price sank by as much as 60% at the start of trading on Monday, the Guardian reports.
The film and entertainment industry has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown shuttered theaters entirely and pandemic safety measures restricted audience numbers when theaters were permitted to open. As studios pushed major releases back — including Disney’s Mulan, Marvel’s Black Widow, James Bond: No Time To Die, and Top Gun: Maverick — theaters have struggled to draw viewers in. Cineworld already laid off 240 U.K. workers earlier this year, and the company’s latest announcement will be a blow to hopes that it could reopen some U.S. sites “in the near future”, as it said last month.
$7.5 billion. This is the decline in annual U.S. cinema revenue research and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopes predict in its annual forecast. The firm projects a 65.7% decline from $11.4 billion in 2019.
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