Cineplex Executives Taking 80 Percent Pay Cut Amid Coronavirus Employee Layoffs

A picture of movie theater popcorn.
Deborah Breen Whiting / Pixabay

The Canadian movie theater chain Cineplex announced on Monday that its executives would be taking an 80 percent pay cut as close to 13,000 employees would be temporarily laid off due to the spread of the coronavirus.

As The Hollywood Reporter noted on Monday, the exhibition chain operates 165 theaters with 1,695 screens across the country. It shut down all of its locations on March 16, initially closing through the beginning of April but now with plans to remain shuttered indefinitely as the virus continues to spread.

The theater chain released a statement announcing the move, saying it was trying to protect the long-term viability of its business.

“From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary focus has been the health and safety of our employees and guests. With the temporary closure of our network of entertainment venues and the majority of our full-time employees working from home, our focus was able to shift to safeguarding the long-term stability of our business and our readiness to return once the crisis has passed,” the company said in a statement, via The Hollywood Reporter.

Across North America, movie theater chains have closed locations amid greater restrictions meant to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. A number of states have enacted stringent rules banning public gatherings and closing down all but the most essential businesses, leaving theaters shut down indefinitely. Several movie studios also announced that they were holding the release of movies indefinitely, with some being offered through online streaming services instead.

It was not clear when the industry could return, as experts have warned that some measure of social distancing may be needed for months until an effective coronavirus treatment or vaccine is developed.

A number of other companies and organizations have also cut pay for executives amid continuing coronavirus concerns, and the Harvard Business Review issued guidance last week to corporations to lead by slashing the salaries of executives.

“Get a commitment for a pay cut from your senior leaders. As CEO, you should take the largest salary cut yourself,” the report noted. “Several airline CEOs, for example, are temporarily forgoing salaries or taking pay cuts amid looming cutbacks for the industry.”

As The Hollywood Reporter noted, the shutdown for Cineplex came as the company was in the midst of a $2.1 billion takeover deal with Cineworld Group — a deal that remained on track despite the unexpected closures on account of the coronavirus pandemic.