All Regal theaters in the United States will temporarily close due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The move was formally announced on Monday by Cineworld, the chain’s parent company. The projected spread of COVID-19 is believed to keep movie houses in big markets closed through the winter.
In addition to the Regal brand chain, this will affect Edwards Theatres and United Artists. The conglomerate will also pause their operations in the U.K. The corporation is the second-largest theater group in the U.S. Over 500 Regal movie theaters will be shuttered starting October 8. Only AMC Theaters operates more American cinemas.
Over 40,000 Regal employees face the loss of their jobs during the closure. The corporation’s stock fell 47 percent after rumors that circulated over the weekend were confirmed in a Monday morning press release.
“As major U.S. markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films. In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the U.S. and the U.K. – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theaters against the backdrop of COVID-19,” it read.
The closure comes one week after the James Bond franchise’s No Time to Die was pushed back to an April 2021 release. According to Variety, the postponement of several tentpole films influenced the decision. The move also affects over 5,500 Cineworld employees in Great Britain.
Social distancing measures affected the entertainment industry disproportionately in 2020. Tenet is the only significant Hollywood film to debut since the global outbreak of the pandemic. Box Office Mojo indicated that the Christopher Nolan movie only grossed $45.1 million in the American market through October 5.
The lack of competition allowed the blockbuster to continue as the No. 1 grossing film since its Labor Day Weekend debut. Tenet remained the top box office hit in the U.S. for the fifth consecutive week. Nolan’s project took in only $2.7 million this weekend, an underwhelming figure for the top slot. The delay of high-earning tentpole cinema forced production studios to bring old intellectual property back to big screens this fall.
Tenet’s stiffest competition came from a re-release of the 1993 family Halloween comedy Hocus Pocus. The Sarah Jessica Parker-led Disney flick brought in $1.9 million. Another oldie to benefit from re-release was Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, which notched a 6th-place finish in the domestic box office report.