London, 4th October: Cineworld to close its 128 cinemas across the UK and Ireland as the industry becomes unfeasible after the coronavirus cancellations.
According to reports from the Sunday Times, the cinema chain could close all UK sites as early as this week in a move that would put up to 5,500 jobs at risk.
The move which has been blamed on the postponement of the release of big-budget movies in the wake of COVID-19 is expected to be a temporary measure until next year.
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
The release of the James Bond movie ‘No Time To Die’ has been postponed until April 2021 just weeks before it was about to be released.
According to reports from the Herald, Cineworld Group PLC, the world’s second-largest cinema chain, has witnessed a drop in share value with bosses at the company reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’.
Despite reopening, Cineworld reported a £1.3 bn loss for the first half of the year because of the COVID-19 crisis.
The chain had reopened 561 out of 778 sites worldwide as lockdown restrictions have been eased.
Cineworld Action Group posted on Twitter saying, “The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is planning to close all of its cinemas across the country as soon as this week putting all of our jobs at immediate risk. There has been no consultation with staff whatsoever.”
The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is planning to close all of its cinemas across the country as soon as this week putting all of our jobs at immediate risk. There has been no consultation with staff whatsoever. pic.twitter.com/16fKxGcNnG
— Cineworld Action Group (@cineactiongroup) October 3, 2020
The Sunday Times reported that the majority of Cineworld staff will be asked to accept redundancy, with possible incentives to rejoin the company when they opt to reopen.
The head of the UK Cinema Association said he fears the Cineworld closure is “indicative of challenges faced by the entire UK cinema industry at the moment”.
Phil Clapp told BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme: “Although cinemas opened in July and have been able to deliver a safe and enjoyable experience, without major new titles then we understand we aren’t able to get as many people out of the home as we’d like.”
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