Cineworld set to shut down all cinemas across US, UK and Ireland due to pandemic

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Cineworld looks likely to close cinemas across the US, the UK and Ireland – including 128 businesses on the British Isles – after being badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain’s biggest cinema chain said the industry has been impacted following the delays of big budget films such as the next James Bond movie, which has been pushed back from its November release date until spring 2021.

Credit: PA

According to a report in the Sunday Times, Cineworld is writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to say the industry is now ‘unviable’.

Reuters has since reported that the company plans to close all 128 sites across the UK and Ireland – a move that could put up to 5,500 jobs at risk – as well as cinemas in the US.

All this comes after Bond movie No Time To Die’s release date was pushed back in a bid to ensure a worldwide cinematic release.

The statement, posted on the official James Bond Twitter account, read: “MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April 2021 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.”

Cineworld Action Group, which represents the company’s employees, yesterday told The Mirror: “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.”

LADbible has contacted Cineworld for comment.

Only last week, Cineworld reported a £1.3 billion loss for the first half of the year due to the Covid-19 crisis and raised doubts over their ability to survive a second lockdown.

It said that admissions had been growing since it was able to reopen the doors thanks to local films, as well as blockbuster movie Tenet.

However, the company also suffered a pre-tax loss for the six months to June compared with profits of £110m a year earlier.

In a statement picked up by The Guardian at the time, Cineworld said: “There can be no certainty as to the future impact of Covid-19 on the group.

“If governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity.”