Update: Cineworld has confirmed it is putting a temporary suspension on all of its locations in the United States and the United Kingdom effective Thursday, October 8. The company said in a statement: “Cineworld’s main priorities remain the safety of customers and employees, cash preservation and cost reduction. This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable re-openings 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.”
Update: Cineworld issued the following statement on Twitter Sunday:
We can confirm we are 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.
Earlier: All 542 Regal Cinemas locations in the U.S. are set to temporarily close once again. The move is part of a plan by parent company Cineworld to shutter all of its U.S. and UK locations, according to multiple reports, and comes after the American and British distributors of “No Time to Die” pushed the release date of the James Bond installment from next month to April 2021. The closures are set to happen as early as next week, Variety reported.
The news, first reported by The Sunday Times, means the states’ second-largest theater circuit and the UK’s largest will close for a second time amid the pandemic. Regal, along with virtually every other American theater, closed in March and began reopening over the summer, when a full schedule of tentpoles suggested studios were ready to gamble on audiences feeling safe heading back to theaters.
“Research shows how much people miss the cinemas. We are thrilled to be back,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger, said in June, when he announced Regal’s reopening. “With the great movies ahead including ‘Mulan,’ ‘Tenet,’ ‘A Quiet Place Part II,’ ‘Wonder Woman 1984,’ ‘No Time to Die,’ ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Soul,’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ and many more, we at Regal are committed as always to be the Best Place to Watch a Movie.”
So much has changed since then. Disney’s live-action “Mulan” adaptation skipped theaters in the US in favor of a Disney+ PVOD release September 4, while “Tenet” served as a test balloon for the viability of theatrical tentpoles during the pandemic, released around the same time. Warner Bros. saw lackluster “Tenet” returns; Christopher Nolan’s latest only grossed $41.2 million domestically.
Meanwhile, all of the other movies Greidinger name-dropped — aside from Pixar’s “Soul” — have been pushed back: “A Quiet Place Part II,” “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Black Widow,” and “Top Gun: Maverick” later release dates are all contributing to what IndieWire’s Tom Brueggemann termed a “new-product desert” for theaters.
Daniel Craig’s final bow as James Bond was among the fall’s most anticipated releases.
“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 said in a statement on Friday. “We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing ‘No Time To Die’ next year.”