The movie theater business is looking rather dire amid new reports that Cineworld may close all Regal Cinema venues in the United States, along with all cinemas in the U.K. and Ireland this coming week. The news comes just a day after the James Bond movie No Time to Day was given another delay to April 2021, taking away another anticipated blockbuster from an expected release in 2020. Per Variety, Cineworld staff have since been informed of the potentiality of shuttering hundreds of theaters very soon, though a final decision hasn't yet been made.
"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. Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can," Cineworld said in a statement acknowledging the rumors.
Cineworld is the largest cinema chain in the U.K., and Regal is the second largest in the U.S. In the U.K., the company is reportedly writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to address the situation. Because of studios continuing to delay high-dollar movies for the foreseeable future, the company says that the exhibition sector is "unviable." A potential reopening date hasn't yet been decided upon, but theaters would likely stay closed until at least 2021.
Following previous delays, No Time to Die had been set to premiere on Nov. 12. Rumors began to surface that the movie could see another small delay soon, moving its premiere in the U.K. and the U.S. to later in the month. Just over a month until the movie's premiere date, it was officially postponed to April 2, 2021. Because theaters are already struggling to maintain business with so few new movies heading to the big screen this year, No Time to Die getting pushed back was a big blow to the industry, as theaters were counting on that movie's release to help themselves stay afloat.
Cineworld had started opening its doors back up to audiences on July 31 after a four-month closure, with Regal Cinemas following suit in late August. There seemed to be a lot of hope that Christopher Nolan's Tenet would bring filmgoers back to the cinema in droves, but the box office figures were well short of expectations. It's clear that audiences are still leery about returning to theaters due to health and safety concerns, and the No Time to Die producers likely saw the writing on the wall.
As of now, there are still a small handful of big titles scheduled to release in theaters by the end of the year. That includes Pixar's animated movie Soul, due to arrive on Nov. 20. Marvel and Disney's Wonder Woman 1984 and Warner Bros.' Dune reboot are also set for December releases. If Cineworld and Regal Cinemas end up closing their doors until 2021, then chances are these movies could all end up getting pushed back akin to Bond 25. This news comes to us from Variety.