Regal Cinemas plans to once again close movie theaters across the United States due to the industry disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The announcement was made on Monday, October 5, with Regal explaining that consumers have only a couple of days left to watch a movie in one of its cinemas before they suspend business, a move that will take place on October 8.
The movie industry has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic due to the social nature of both production and viewing. Movie theaters suspended operations in the US earlier this year as states ordered non-essential businesses to shut down and many people avoided public places over concerns about getting sick. Cinemas have since reopened, though with a number of changes, but consumers haven’t returned to these destinations in pre-pandemic numbers.
Movie theaters were already struggling to survive before the pandemic as the industry landscape changes and more consumers have access to high-end home entertainment technologies. Many cinemas are dependent on concession sales and other non-ticket products to stay afloat, something decimated by the lack of consumers’ interest in taking pointless health risks.
In its statement today, Regal said that will temporarily suspend operations at all of its 536 theaters in the United States on Thursday. The company cites a number of reasons for this change, including some markets failing to disclose when theaters will be allowed to reopen, movie studios’ hesitancy to provide solid movie premiere dates, and the general lack of new movie releases. The movie theater closures will leave around 40,000 workers in the US without a job.
In a statement, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said:
This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S.– from putting in place robust health and safety measures at our theatres to joining our industry in making a collective commitment to the CinemaSafe protocols to reaching out to state and local officials to educate them on these initiatives. We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.