Lights out: Regal Cinemas to suspend operations

Closures in major markets and Hollywood delays are partly to blame

The Regal Cinemas chain will suspend operations at all of its US movie theaters (Getty)
The Regal Cinemas chain will suspend operations at all of its US movie theaters (Getty)

Cineworld, the owner of the Regal Cinemas movie theater chain, will suspend operations at its locations across the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The announcement to temporarily close 500 theaters came after a wave of postponements of big-budget Hollywood movies, including the new James Bond film “No Time to Die.”

“We are like a grocery shop that doesn’t have vegetables, fruit, meat,” Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger told the Journal. “We cannot operate for a long time without a product.”

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Major movie theater chains, such as Regal, AMC and Cinemark, reopened some of their facilities in August ahead of the release of Christopher Nolan’s spy film “Tenet.”

But theaters in major U.S. markets, including Los Angeles and New York City, remain closed due to the pandemic. Cineworld’s decision to cease operations is partly because it can’t open its theaters in those cities, the Journal reported.

Movie theater owners who are worried about the survival of their businesses have called on the federal government for funding, the L.A. Times reported.

Others have complained to government officials in California and New York, since some indoor facilities, such as restaurants, bowling alleys and churches are allowed to open with capacity restrictions while theaters must stay closed.

“In the cinema, everyone is seated and looks in the same direction… in the restaurant you take off your mask and you sit one in front of the other,” Greidinger told the Journal. “It simply doesn’t make sense.” [WSJ] — Akiko Matsuda