What just happened? Cineworld, the UK theater company that owns American movie theater chain Regal Cinemas, is considering temporarily closing its theaters in the UK and the US due to the pandemic.
Cineworld in a Twitter post published on Sunday confirmed the news but noted that a final decision had not yet been reached. Once a decision has been made, the company said, staff and customers will be updated as soon as possible.
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.
— Cineworld Cinemas (@cineworld) October 4, 2020
Movie theaters were among those hardest hit by pandemic shutdown measures in mid-March. Many have since reopened, albeit with social distancing measures in place. But the issue has been compounded by a broader industry shift in which distributors are testing the at-home, on-demand waters. Others, still, have decided to delay the launch of blockbuster films by several months, with some like the new James Bond movie No Time to Die slipping into early 2021.
Theaters have countered with some creativity, including screening retro blockbusters like Jaws and Jurassic Park and even offering to let cautious guests rent out theater halls for private screenings. These temporary Band-Aids have a limit, however, as theaters can only remain shut down for so long before they go belly up and have to toss in the towel.
Masthead credit: wavebreakmedia