Cineworld Cinemas has announced that all of their Regal theaters in North America are temporarily closing. The company is also closing all of their theaters in the U.K., starting this Thursday. Major movie theater chains have largely been shut down since March, due to the public health crisis. However, in recent months, some areas were given the go ahead to open theaters. Attendance has been sparse as more and more studios take their big projects and delay them until next year. You can read a portion of Cineworld's statement about their decision to close down below.
"In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cineworld confirms that it will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its 536 Regal theatres in the U.S. and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the U.K. from Thursday, 8 October 2020."
It is not clear how much longer Regal Theaters will be shut down, but one could easily see this lasting until next year. Christopher Nolan's Tenet is currently out in theaters and it is not doing the business that the studio expected it to do. To date, the movie has made just $307.1 million, with only $45 million coming from theaters in North America. Warner Bros. and Nolan were adamant about the movie opening in theaters and not premiering on streaming services beforehand, though other recent movies have seen success from going with the streaming and theatrical model. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger had this to say about Regal theaters shutting down again.
"This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable re-openings 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 theaters 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."
The Regal Theaters news comes after MGM announced that they were taking the long-awaited No Time to Die, which was supposed to be in movie theaters this November, and moving it to spring 2021. Even Fast and Furious 9 was delayed again until Memorial Day Weekend. As the bigger movies keep delaying, movie theaters don't have enough new material to keep their small audiences coming back.
AMC Theatres reportedly only has enough money to get them through the next 6 months, so it will be interesting to see if they decide to follow in Regal's footsteps and just close down again, while waiting for the public health crisis to get better. Currently, cases are still surging across the United States and other countries, which is making it hard for businesses of any kind to keep their doors open. Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. thought that Tenet would be able to salvage the summer movie season, but that has, unfortunately, not been the case.
Marvel Studios was set to release Black Widow in November, but they have also decided to release the highly anticipated movie next year. Denis Villeneuve's Dune adaptation and Wonder Woman 1984 are still scheduled to open before the end of the year, but one can easily see both of those movies getting pushed back to 2021 in the coming days. For now, we'll just have to wait and see how it goes. The Wall Street Journal was the first to announce the Regal news.