Around 45 000 jobs are being cut – although possibly only temporarily – as the world’s second-largest cinemas operator closes all of its cinemas in Britain and the United States due to a lack of new films.
This figure includes 5 500 UK staff and 20 000 US staff, as well as a range of contracted workers such as security personnel and cleaners.
Hit by lack of new blockbusters
The company has 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse UK outlets, and 536 Regal outlets in the United States. They are scheduled to close on Thursday.
Cinemas around the world have been struggling due to health and social distancing requirements, as well as a lack of exciting new productions to tempt wary audiences back into their seats.
Disney, for example, has taken its latest release Mulan – a live-action adaptation of its 1998 animated film of the same name – straight onto its streaming service and ignored the cinema option completely.
New Bond movie postponed again
Another blockbuster that would likely have attracted large audiences, the new Time to Die James Bond movie, has recently had its intended November release postponed to April 2021.
Its original release date was scheduled for April 2020, meaning it will be a year overdue when cinema audiences finally get to see it on the big screen.
Cineworld now intends to keep its outlets shuttered until such time the major film distribution companies decide to release blockbuster movies that are likely to attract reasonable audiences.
Decision not been made lightly
“This is not a decision we made lightly,” said Mooky Greidinger, the Cineworld Chief Executive.
“We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings 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.”
He added: “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.”