Cineworld declares UK, US theaters to close; '007' postponement reason
Britain's biggest and the world's second-largest cinema chain, Cineworld, is closing down operations in the UK and major US markets temporarily. The primary threat of the persisting coronavirus pandemic and the failed last-ditch attempt of screening No Time To Die in November has caused officials to crumble under economical pressure. Sources say 45,000 jobs may be lost because of this business closure. Here's more.
Last week, the company announced it will be closing 127 Picturehouse and Cineworld theaters in the UK from Thursday, while 536 Regal theaters will pull down shutters in the US. Just before the pandemic swept the UK, the company hired 37,000 people globally. Cineworld informed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that cinema has become "unviable" due to release delays.
"We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our UK 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," mentioned the company statement. Cineworld had reopened in July after reporting a £1.3bn loss in the first half of 2020.
Desperate to bring cinema-lovers back to the big screen, Christopher Nolan's tentpole Tenet became the first big-budget film to release in the US after the pandemic. However, key theaters remained closed in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, dimming its own and Hollywood's chance of quick revival anytime soon. No Time To Die, with its release delay to 2021, made the business unviable.
The news of this closure was leaked before the company had informed its staff. Employees could see this coming but were "devastated" by the news. An employee told under conditions of anonymity that they were skeptical all this while. "When there's no films to show, what are we going to sell? So a lot of the staff have been quite skeptical," said the person.
The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is planning to close all of its cinemas across the country as soon as this week putting all of our jobs at immediate risk. There has been no consultation with staff whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/16fKxGcNnG— Cineworld Action Group (@cineactiongroup) October 3, 2020
Cineworld Action Group bashed the company for letting The Sunday Times report this before Cineworld employees knew. With the news sending shockwaves, UK Labour Party MP Jo Stevens criticized the government for not extending support. "The failure of ministers to recognize the value of shut-down businesses, which now includes many cinemas, means they are consigning thousands of workers to the scrap heap," she said.