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Cineworld Closes All Theaters in U.S and U.K 

(Noted News) Cineworld, the second-largest global cinema chain, will be closing all of its theaters in the U.S. and U.K. amid the continuously disastrous year for filmmaking and film watching.

The British theater giant, the parent company for Regal, Cinema City, and Picturehouse, said in a tweet on Monday that they “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.”

This comes weeks after Cineworld’s half-year earnings report showed massive hits to the company from the coronavirus pandemic. After all of their theaters were closed from March to late June and in some cases early August, then opened up to next-to-nothing foot traffic, the company reported a loss of $1.34 billion, compared with a profit of $389.2 million the year before. Instead of $2.1 billion in revenue as per 2019, Cineworld saw $712.4 million, and an EBITDA of $53 million, down from $758.6 million.

As expected, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger connected the losses with the COVID-19 lockdowns.

“The impact of COVID-19 on our business and the wider leisure industry has been substantial, with the closures of all of our cinemas worldwide for an extended period. During this unprecedented time, our priority has been the safety and health of our customers and employees, while at the same time preserving cash and protecting our balance sheet.”

Greidinger also said that should the restrictions on social gatherings become more severe, Cineworld would struggle further and may be forced to raise outside money to stay afloat.

“If governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity.”

Though the entire COVID-19 pandemic has been a horror movie for theaters and the leisure industry at large, the delay of the new James Bond movie appears to be the final dagger in the chest that prompted Cineworld to bring forth the closure of its cinemas; This announcement comes just one day after “James Bond: No Time To Die” was pushed back to April 2021.

Marvel’s “Black Widow” was also recently delayed. The company’s statement noted that on top of the mountain of other problems facing their business model, the film industry is not currently producing big films that would attract would-be customers.

“Without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the U.S. and the UK… with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres.”

In total, the closure of all American and British theaters would mean a loss of about 45,000 jobs, something that Cineworld employees were not informed of until they heard about it in the media.

A tweet from the Cineworld Action Group, an organization representing the workers of Cineworld, stated:

“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. However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful.”

COVID-19’s effect on the theater industry comes after a long debate regarding its growth potential in the face of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. Cineworld’s stock was already declining for nearly a year before completely collapsing in March of 2020.

Once trading at $415, Cineworld’s share price plummeted to $28 during the crash of March, and is now once again back at $29, signaling bleak chances for any meaningful recovery in the near future.

Cineworld, seeking government support, will be writing to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden explaining that the industry has become unviable and needs some sort of assistance.

Despite the adversity, CEO Dreidinger is still wearing a calm face.

“While there continues to be a lot of uncertainty, we have a dedicated and experienced team that is focused on managing business continuity while taking advantage of the strong slate currently planned for the months ahead.”

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