RIP, Theaters? Regal Considering “Temporary” Closure, while AMC Has Six Months of Liquidity Left

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Following MGM’s decision to delay 007 film No Time to Die, British cinema giant Cineworld warned over Twitter that it was considering closing down all of its U.K. and U.S. cinemas. That would include Regal Cinemas, which comprises over 540 venues in the States.

“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,” the cinema giant tweeted. “Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”

While the decision is not yet final, Variety seems to think that the company may close all of its chains in the U.S. and U.K. as early as this week. Thousands of jobs would be on the line.

“In the U.K., Cineworld is understood to be writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden this weekend to explain that the exhibition sector is ‘unviable’ due to studios delaying tentpoles as a result of anxious audiences steering clear of cinemas amid the global pandemic,” Variety wrote. “The Cineworld closures will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk in the U.K.”

Things aren’t looking too good for the largest domestic theater chain, either. According to estimates by debt ratings agency S&P Global Ratings (via The Hollywood Reporter), AMC Entertainment could run out of liquidity (e.g., available cash) in just six months.

“Given our expectations for a high rate of cash burn, we believe the company will run out of liquidity within the next six months unless it is able to raise additional capital, which we view as unlikely, or attendance levels materially improve,” the agency said.

Many of the biggest movies have been delayed until summer of 2021, so we’re not sure how the theater industry will make it out of this. It was just last month that filmmakers were begging for Congress’s help to save cinemas from “extinction.”

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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