Cineworld is reportedly close to shutting down all Regal Cinemas in the U.S. and the U.K. after the new James Bond movie, No Time to Die, was delayed. The new James Bond release would have been vital for keeping the ailing movie theater industry afloat, and since it was pushed back to April of 2021, Regal Cinemas may not be able to remain open. According to a report by Variety, the decision is close, but not yet final.
Insiders said that Cineworld has gone so far to inform employees that Regal Cinemas might be heading for "temporary closure." Human resources reportedly let the workers know that this is "one option that is strongly being considered," as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on public entertainment venues. If the company does take this route, insiders say that theaters will likely be closed as soon as this week. Regal Cinemas is the largest domestic movie theater chain in the U.S., so this would impact movie-goers around the country.
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
Cineworld also took the decision public on Sunday morning in a post on Twitter. As fans heard about the potential closure from other sources, Cineworld tweeted: "We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and U.S. 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 is the biggest cinema operator in the U.K., where they were counting on the nation's favorite secret agent to revitalize ticket sales with his next adventure. However, the release date for No Time to Die was pushed back to at least April on Friday, just over a month before its intended release date. The movie would have hit theaters on Thursday, Nov. 12.
"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 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience," read a statement from the Bond crew. "We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year."
The blockbuster movie release schedule for 2020 and 2021 was already scrambled due to the initial outbreak of COVID-19, and theaters were closed throughout the U.S. and the U.K. until at least July, in most places.
However, without new movies to entice crowds, the theaters have no real reason to stay open. So far, the biggest major release has been Tenet, Christopher Nolan's new action movie which performed poorly at the box office. If audiences won't turn out for big titles like this one out of fear for their health and safety, theaters may be facing a long road to recover.