Struggling theater chain Cineworld (CINE) is planning to close all its 543 Regal Cinema venues in the US, and its cinemas in the UK, as soon as this week, according to a report from Variety. Regal is the US’s second largest domestic theater chain.
Cineworld is also the UK’s biggest cinema operator with 128 cinemas across the UK and Ireland. The closure of the UK cinemas would put 5,500 jobs at risk.
According to The Sunday Times, Cineworld is writing to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, to say that the industry is now “unviable” due to the delay of big-budget releases.
In response Cineworld has confirmed that it is “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” the company said.
Cineworld made the move after the upcoming Bond movie, ‘No Time To Die’, was again pushed back, this time until April 2021. The movie had already been postponed from April 2020 to November 2020.
“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of ‘No Time To Die,’ the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience,” the filmmakers stated on October 2.
“We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing ‘No Time To Die’ next year” they added.
Meanwhile Wonder Woman 1984 and Dune have been delayed until December, with the next big movie release coming up on November 20 with Pixar’s Soul. (See CINE stock analysis on TipRanks)
Shares in Cineworld have plunged recently and the stock scores 2 buy ratings from the Street offset by 1 sell rating. For instance Morgan Stanley analyst Ed Young recently slashed his price target on Cineworld Group to 45p (from 60p) while reiterating his Sell rating.
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