The last picture show: Cineworld to shut all 128 of its UK and Ireland cinemas after industry became ‘unviable’ following coronavirus cancellations after latest James Bond film is postponed until 2021
- Cineworld chiefs could announce plans as early as tomorrow, say Sunday Times
- The paper reports the move to close cinemas could put up to 5,500 jobs at risk
- It comes after latest James Bond and Fast and Furious released were delayed
Cineworld could shut all of its 128 UK and Ireland cinemas, putting thousands of jobs at risk, according to reports.
The cinema chain could announce the decision, which would 5,500 jobs at risk, as early as tomorrow, reports The Sunday Times.
It comes as bosses of Cineworld Group PLC, the world’s second-largest cinema chain, are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’.
Bosses at Cineworld have blamed the decision of movie studios to postpone big budget films in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the paper reports.
This week the release of the new James Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ was delayed until April 2021, just weeks before it was about to be released – following the original postponement of its release earlier this year due to coronavirus.
Cineworld could shut all of its 128 UK and Ireland cinemas, putting thousands of jobs at risk, according to reports
On Friday, the release of the highly-anticipated Fast and Furious sequel F9 was also delayed again.
It is now set for release on May 28, 2021 during Memorial Day weekend, it was announced by Universal.
MailOnline has contacted Cineworld Group PLC for a comment.
Meanwhile, Phil Clapp, chief executive of the UK Cinema Association, described the reported closure of Cineworld cinemas as a ‘serious blow’.
He told the Sunday Times: ‘The announcement is probably the most serious blow to UK cinema operators of a number of similar announcements over the past few weeks and will undoubtedly cause a significant number of cinemas to close again.’
The UK cinema industry took a profit hit when the country was plunged into lockdown in March following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Cineworld was due to reopen on July 10, after lockdown measures were eased by the government, allowing the reopening of cinemas from July 4.
But it delayed the reopening of its cinemas in the UK by more than two weeks until July 31 to coincide with ‘recent adjustments to the schedule of upcoming movie releases’.
Social distancing measures were also introduced, including such as one-way systems, perspex screens for staff, mandatory contactless payment and no more pick and mix.
But blockbuster releases were in short supply throughout summer, with Christopher Nolan’s spy-thriller Tenent set to be one of the highlights.
However industry experts have reportedly been ‘spooked’ by the film’s lacklustre performance on the big screen, causing other major studios to postpone their major releases.