Cineworld has issued a statement after it was reported that they are planning to close all 128 UK and Ireland cinemas, alongside all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the US. The closure is reported to be linked to yet another delay to the new James Bond film No Time To Die which has caused even more strain on the cinema chain to keep it’s doors open.
It is believed that Cineworld Group PLC is set to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become “unviable”. The company has now commented on the alleged plans to shut its cinemas in an official statement. “We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached,” it reads. “Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”
Cineworld bosses have reportedly blamed the decision on the postponement of blockbusters like the latest in the James Bond franchise because of the coronavirus pandemic. This has reportedly meant that they can’t stay open under current circumstances, however, it is alleged that there is optimism that this would be a temporary measure and that cinemas would re-open next year.
The closure would put up to 5,500 jobs at risk, was strongly criticised by the companies employees via the Cineworld Action Group account on Twitter, who state that they discovered that they were set to lose their jobs through social media rather than by their bosses.
“We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic. Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices,” the group tweeted in the wake of the news breaking.
Mooky Greidinger, the Cineworld chief executive and a member of the family that owns more than a quarter of the company’s shares, has confirmed the plans to close by stating: “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.”
No Time to Die had originally been rescheduled to be released in November, but a further delay has now been announced which would see it finally hit screens next April, a year later than initially planned. This is not the only significant blow that the industry has recently faced, with Disney’s decision to release its live-action Mulan remake straight to its streaming service being another notable roadblock for cinemas.