Tim Richards, the boss of major film screening chain Vue, has insisted that the cinemas “will survive” amid the current coronavirus health crisis despite growing concerns of the severe financial downturn.
Earlier this week Far Out reported the speculation that a separate cinema chain, Cineworld, was reported 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 its 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.”
The arts and culture sector has been hit hard by the pandemic with social distancing regulations making it near-impossible for cinemas to turn a profit. Furthermore, the once-reliable cash injection from a series of high profile film release has once again but the future of cinemas in doubt after James Bond, Batman and Denis Villeneuve’s eagerly anticipated new film Dune all facing major delays.
Despite the ongoing issue, Vue boss Richards remains confident that his company can fend off the disaster: “We are still looking at all options and I think Friday’s news was a surprise; it did catch us off guard,” Richards told The Guardian after the news of yet more cinematic delays.
“We re-opened on the basis that we were going to be getting movies that then didn’t arrive. There are a lot of players that do not have the size and scale Vue does that will not survive,” he added.
“Tenet right now has delivered over $300m worldwide and the overwhelming majority of that has been from international (non-US) markets,” he said.
“In the UK it will deliver 80% to 90% of the box office of Nolan’s last film Interstellar, despite everything. I think that audiences are warmed up again, they are comfortable going back to the cinema with the measures in place, that is why it is unfortunate that a film like Bond had to move.”