Cineworld Stevenage one of 127 UK screens to shut down after Bond film delay


Cineworld - Credit: Archant

Cineworld will temporarily close all its UK and US cinemas from Thursday, affecting 45,000 jobs.

Cineworld, which has a cinema in Stevenage Leisure Park, announced the drastic action today – three days after the decision to delay the release of the new James Bond film No Time To Die for a second time. The movie had been due to be released in April this year, but was delayed until November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has now been further delayed until April 2, 2021.

Although cinemas – forced to close when the UK went into lockdown in March – have been allowed to open since July 4, Cineworld says it has struggled to attract customers.

In a statement released today, it says: “In response to an increasingly challenging theatrical landscape and sustained key market closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cineworld will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its 536 Regal theatres in the US and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Thursday.

“As major US markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films. In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19.

“Cineworld will monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”

Cineworld says its main priorities are the safety of customers and employees, cash preservation and cost reduction, and is currently assessing several sources of additional liquidity.

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Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld, said: “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings. We are especially 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.”