By Adedapo Adesanya
The second biggest cinema operator in the world, Cineworld, is set to close all outlets in the United Kingdom and Ireland from next week over the impact of the coronavirus.
The Regal cinema owner wrote to British Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, and culture minister, Mr Oliver Dowden, over the weekend to say the industry has become “unviable” because of film studios’ decision to postpone big-budget films.
The new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, became the latest blockbuster to be pushed into next year (April 2, 2021) as the movie industry struggles to get back to business amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, which started reopening its sites from July, runs a total of 128 theatres and 1,180 screens in the UK and Ireland.
It was reported that Cineworld is expected to announce its plan, which could put about 5,500 jobs at risk, as soon as Monday.
“If governments were to strengthen restrictions on the social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity,” the company said last month.
The release of some other movies scheduled for this year notably Black Widow and West Side Story have also been delayed until 2021.
Efforts to get audiences back into theatres have proved disappointing all around the world with many still staying away from the cinemas over the fear of another wave.
While bigger chains like AMC Entertainment, Cineworld and others have reopened many locations, crowds have been thin.
Small and mid-sized theatre companies have said they may not survive the impact of the pandemic.
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