The UK's largest cinema chains today announced the closure of more than 150 locations across the country, taking the toll from the coronavirus pandemic.
On a devastating day for the industry, Cineworld confirmed plans to temporarily close all 127 locations across the UK, affecting up to 5,500 employees.
Around 45,000 employees will be affected if the cinema giant mothballed all 600 theaters on both sides of the Atlantic.
The sweeping closures come after the latest James Bond film – No Time to Die – has again delayed its release due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Just hours later, Odeon announced that around a quarter of its 120 venues will be moving to a weekend-only model from Friday.
Meanwhile, Vue's boss said he had "looked at all options" to survive the winter, including temporarily closing its cinemas.
The head of Cineworld said the company would have been "like a grocery store with no groceries" after film studios delayed several major releases due to the Covid crisis.
The chain will close 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse locations in the UK this Thursday. That put stocks down as much as 57% when the London markets opened.
Boris Johnson acknowledged that there would be "tough times" in the job market after the announcement, but encouraged people to go to the movies.
The Prime Minister told reporters in central London: “Of course we hope to keep the number of people who are losing their jobs as low as possible, but of course difficult times are ahead.
“That's why we've already invested £ 190 billion in supporting jobs and livelihoods across the country.
"Supporting Local Cinemas – I think we have already invested £ 30million, but I would tell people that local cinemas now have opportunities to continue their shows in a Covid-safe manner and I would encourage people to go to the cinema themselves amuse yourself and support these businesses. & # 39;
Cineworld confirmed today that it is considering temporarily closing its UK and US cinemas, but that "a final decision has not yet been made".
Are you a Cineworld employee affected by the closings?
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Speaking to Sky News today, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said: “A lot of major films, like Mulan, like Black Widow, like Kingsman – Wonder Woman, moved from October to December – and on Friday we got the news that Bond -Film – which is of course the biggest film of the year for Great Britain – also decided to move.
"From a liquidity standpoint, we bled a lot more when we were open than when we were closed. We'd be like a grocery store with no groceries – we had to make that decision."
He said the 45,000 affected company employees "know how important they are to us – we see our employees as one big family, we are very proud of them".
He added: “To keep their jobs safe, we need to take this action now. I hope they are supported by all kinds of government plans. & # 39;
Mr. Greidinger said the decision was "not taken lightly," adding, "We have done everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets."
Fast & Furious sequel F9 is postponed again to May 2021
The Fast And The Furious series won't see the checkered flag again anytime soon.
The release of the highly anticipated sequel F9 has been delayed again as it is now due to be released on May 28, 2021 on Memorial Day weekend that Universal announced on Friday.
Back in March it was reported that the film was postponed to April 3, 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
However, the final change was made hours after the November-April 2, 2021 delay in the November-April 2, 2021 release of the James Bond film No Time to Die.
Universal distributes the film internationally.
The films Fast and Furious are always big earners at the national and international box office, and the lack of F9 will have a significant impact on the 2020 box office. The last two films made over $ 1 billion.
The full trailer had been revealed just a month earlier.
On Friday, the release of the Bond film No Time To Die was delayed for the second time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The film was slated to hit theaters in November, but fans will now have to wait until April 2 of next year to see Daniel Craig's final appearance in the role.
The film joins other potential hits like Black Widow and Wonder Woman: 1984 that have been delayed by the pandemic.
Last week, the release of the highly anticipated sequel to Fast and Furious F9 was also delayed again, while Disney announced last month that its live-action version of Mulan was debuting on its streaming service Disney Plus instead of a theatrical release.
The new Fast and Furious will be released on May 28, 2021, Universal announced yesterday.
Mr. Greidinger said Cineworld will wait until the "right time" to talk about reopening.
Shares in Cineworld, which is listed on the FTSE 250, have more than halved today after the giant announced it would temporarily close its cinemas.
Cineworld shares plunged 56 percent to 17p in early trading, although they had determined to lose 30 percent by 0930.
They are down about 90 percent since the start of the year when they traded at around 220p before the pandemic.
Vue Cinemas' executive director said the company would try to avoid layoffs but was forced to look at all options after rival Cineworld closed all of its theaters in the UK and US.
Tim Richards said cinema chains have been "body blown" by delaying the next James Bond film, No Time To Die, until April next year.
"We have problems, we absolutely have problems, we got into it after a record year both as an industry and as a company … we were well positioned to handle this, but that was unexpected," he told Sky News on Monday.
In addition to the closure plans, the heads of the Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Minister Oliver Dowden that the industry has become "unprofitable".
How the UK cinema industry was hit by the coronavirus pandemic
Today's news is another setback for the UK cinema industry, which suffered a slump in profits as the country stalled in March following the coronavirus outbreak.
After months of forced closure, Cineworld was due to reopen its cinemas on July 10th, after the government eased the lockdown measures and allowed the cinemas to reopen on July 4th.
However, the reopening of its cinemas in the UK was delayed by more than two weeks until July 31st, which coincided with "recent adjustments to the schedule for upcoming film releases".
Social distancing measures have also been introduced, including one-way systems, Plexiglas screens for employees, mandatory contactless payments, and no more pick-and-mix.
Despite reopening, Cineworld has expressed doubts about its ability to weather a second lockdown as it posted a loss of £ 1.3 billion in the first half of the year due to the Covid-19 crisis.
The cinema chain, the largest in the UK and the second largest in the world after Chinese company Wanda Cinemas, posted a pre-tax loss in the six months to June, compared to a profit of £ 110 million a year earlier.
The problems were compounded by a lack of large blockbusters during the summer.
Christopher Nolan's spy thriller Tenet was supposed to be one of the highlights.
However, industry experts were reportedly "startled" by the film's lackluster performance on the big screen, causing other major studios to postpone their main releases.
He said while the studios are under pressure, they make decisions by focusing on the US rather than the theaters in Europe and Asia.
"Everyone is fighting," he said.
"My only frustration is that I think the studios are a bit US-centric and see what's going on in New York and LA and don't really look global."
When asked if Vue would shut down websites, he said, "We are now forced to consider options."
The previous Monday, Mr. Richards told BBC Radio 4's Today program, “We're good to go.
"Our customers right now … there's a pent-up demand like we've never seen before to enjoy a safe social environment with others.
“Our current problem is that we don't have any films. That was a big blow for us.
& # 39; We'll probably make it; I worry about the independents and the small regional operators who are really going to have problems right now and if they close they may not reopen.
& # 39; We have tried to keep all of our jobs for the 5,500 people in the UK and that is still our goal.
“We'll try to find a way.
& # 39; This was an industry that wasn't broken.
& # 39; We joined as a very strong industry. We just have to make it through the next three or four months with no movies. & # 39;
But employees went to Twitter overnight to beat the company up for failing to tell employees about the plans before they were reported.
A Twitter user said: “This goes to all of Cineworld's colleagues across the country and wishes you the best this early hours with the news of the closings.
I've been at Cineworld for 12 years to find out I don't have a job on Twitter. Once again; is damn horrific. & # 39;
Another, whose husband works for Cineworld, said, “I just checked Twitter before bed. Oh, it looks like we just found out on Twitter that my husband's workplace is closed. Thank you for telling your Cineworld staff about it and for finding out on Twitter as usual.
"I think we'll wait to hear from you sometime in the future."
The latest film in the James Bond series "No Time To Die", which was due to hit theaters on November 11th, has now been postponed to April 2021
CINEWORLD: WHAT HAS THE CINEMA CHAIN CLOSED TO YOUR THEATERS?
What are the short-term causes of the closure?
The company's current problems are partly due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which forced it to close locations across the UK and other key markets in March.
Although the sites reopened in other regions in July and even earlier, social distancing rules and the studios' reluctance to release big-ticket movies have hampered viewership.
On Monday, Cineworld said that without these releases it would not have been able to provide UK and US audiences with "the breadth of high-powered commercials needed to return to theaters against the backdrop of Covid-19."
Large studios like Disney announced severely late schedules or even pulled some films out of theatrical release entirely, with Disney choosing to release its live-action Mulan film on its own streaming platform instead.
The most recent hammer blow was the decision by James Bond Studios MGM and Universal to push the release of No Time To Die from November to April 2021.
Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said he will announce reopening plans when key markets recover and "studios are able to get their pipeline back on screen with major releases".
What long-term problems did this lead to?
Falling audience numbers and a thin pipeline of new releases were a particular concern of Cineworld due to the longstanding financial uncertainty.
The cinema group has grown rapidly in recent years due to acquisitions and has bought rivals in different regions by placing significant debt on the parent company.
In 2018 the company grabbed the US chain Regal.
The deal saw Cineworld inherit 535 cinemas, as well as liabilities of $ 1.6 billion (£ 1.2 billion), which AJ Bell investment director Russ Mold says "will now crush the group."
The latest results showed it had only $ 285 million (£ 220 million) in cash compared to roughly $ 8.5 billion (£ 6.6 billion) in debt made up of 4.2 billion in loans and 4.3 billion lease liabilities.
Cineworld's most recent planned takeover of Canadian chain Cineplex was worst after a deal in December. After Cineworld withdrew in the face of the pandemic, Cineworld collapsed.
The resulting costly legal battle with Cineplex continues in the background.
Cineworld isn't the only one in the sector sitting on significant debt. Odeon owner AMC has roughly $ 5 billion (£ 3.9 billion) in debt even after agreeing to cut its debt stack by as much as $ 630 million (£ 486m) in July.
What's the story of the business?
Founded in 1995 by Steve Wiener in the UK, Cineworld grew steadily until it was bought by private equity giant Blackstone for £ 120 million in 2004.
The deal resulted in the start of the expensive acquisition of Cineworld, and the deal grabbed British rival UGC months later.
Blackstone listed the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2007 before expanding further in 2012 with the acquisition of the upscale Picturehouse chain.
Two years later, the company merged with the largest cinema group Cinema City in Central and Eastern Europe, but decided to keep the name Cineworld.
The Cinema City chain was founded in 1930 with the Armon Theater in Israel by Moshe Greidinger, the grandfather of the company's current boss.
Which cinemas and brands are at risk?
The group covers a whole range of global brands but is best known in the UK for its core Cineworld, which has 102 locations across the country.
Owning Picturehouse, with 25 locations across the UK, also means it owns some of the most iconic theaters in the UK.
Monday's damn update casts a shadow over historic sites like Brixton's Ritzy Theater, Edinburgh's 106-year-old Cameo, and Brighton's 110-year-old Duke of York, all run by Picturehouse.
What does this mean for the workers?
Cineworld said up to 45,000 employees will be affected by the announcement in the UK and US, with the move being particularly dangerous as it comes weeks before the end of the government's current vacation program.
A group on Twitter called the Cineworld Action Group also visited the social media site to comment on the reports.
A Cineworld employee who refused to be named said he felt "cheated".
The clerk said, "Neither of us has said anything yet, so I and my work colleagues are in a panic wondering what will happen to our jobs, especially just before Christmas."
In addition to the closure plans, the heads of the Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Minister of Culture Oliver Dowden that the industry has become “unprofitable”.
Cineworld said today: & # 39; With major U.S. markets, mostly New York, staying closed and the guidelines for reopening not without guidance on how to reopen, studios were reluctant to release their pipeline of new films.
& # 39; Without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in the US and UK – the company's primary markets – the breadth of high-powered commercials they need to return to theaters against the backdrop of Covid-19. & # 39;
Labor and Pensions Minister Therese Coffey said the companies received "a lot of support" after the news broke on Monday.
When asked if the government would help the chain, she told Sky News, "One of the things Cineworld has quoted is that moviegoers want to be able to see new movies instead of just watching movies from the past , and that is something that the entire industry can work together to deliver.
& # 39; Cineworld will have been supported in other ways throughout the year by the holiday program in ways the government has supported businesses.
"We are aware that aspects of the main vacation program are coming to an end, but there is a successor system there."
Susannah Streeter, Senior Investment and Market Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: & # 39; The new job support program, which subsidizes the wages of part-time workers, will help the 5,500 Cineworld UK employees who will lose their jobs this week and many Not Providing a Lifeline Others in the industry face a bleak winter when job seekers benefit as they begin the difficult job search before Christmas. & # 39;
Jo Stevens, secretary for shadow culture at work, said, “This is devastating news for Cineworld workers and moviegoers and will affect cities and city centers.
& # 39; The cinema industry was viable before the crisis and will be after it when the film industry recovers.
"Ministers' failure to recognize the value of abandoned companies, which now include many cinemas, means they are sending thousands of workers to the scrap heap."
British Film Institute (BFI) executive director Ben Roberts has similar concerns about the outlook for the entire industry but stressed "good reasons to visit your local cinema – as distributors continue to bring new independent films to audiences".
His call to get customers back on track was backed up by the government, which pledged a package worth more than £ 1.5 billion to help the arts and culture industries recover from the July pandemic.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "The government is supporting cinemas by lowering VAT on tickets and concessions, business rates for vacation and bounce-back loans.
& # 39; Independent cinemas are also eligible for a £ 30 million share of our unprecedented £ 1.5 billion Cultural Recreation Fund, and the funds have already been allocated.
“Cinemas across the country are open to business and Covid safe.
"We urge the UK public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film according to the guidelines."
A statement on Twitter said: & # 39; 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, postponed until April 2, 2021, will be seen by a global theater audience.
"We understand the delay will be disappointing for our fans, but we're now looking forward to NOT sharing a TIME TO DIE next year."
Reports of plans to close Cineworld come amid a carnage of jobs on Main Street. Since the lockdown began in March, major UK employers have shed 193,731 jobs.
Last week, TSB announced that it would cut around 900 jobs as part of its plans to close 164 of its bank branches.
The Edinburgh-based bank expects most layoffs to be voluntary, but does not rule out the possibility that employees will be made redundant.
Large retail chains such as Boots, WH Smith, Marks and Spencer had already announced job cuts.
Midday chain Pret a Manger announced plans to cut 2,800 jobs earlier this year, while coffee giant Costa announced plans to cut 1,650 jobs.
FROM DUNE TO DEATH ON THE NILE: THE CURRENT FILM RELEASE PLAN 2020
Films currently showing in theaters include Tenet, Bill and Ted Face the Music, After We Collided and Cats and Dogs: Paws Unite!
Late last week, James Bond Studios MGM and Universal postponed the release of No Time To Die for the second time.
The August release of Christopher Nolan's action thriller Tenet gave the industry the boost it needed, grossing over £ 5 million at the UK and Irish box office on the opening weekend.
However, Disney made a last-minute decision to release its live-action film Mulan – which was expected to bring family audiences back to theaters – on its Disney + streaming platform instead.
Another of this year's highly anticipated releases, Wonder Woman 1984, has also been postponed. The superhero sequel starring Gal Gadot was due to be released in the US on October 2nd, but now has a release date in December.
Here is the current release schedule for 2020, which is subject to change:
Another of that year's highly anticipated releases, Wonder Woman 1984, has also been postponed
The Chicago 7 test (launches on Netflix)
Rebecca (Released in theaters before Netflix releases October 21)
Over The Moon (Released in theaters before Netflix releases October 21)
28th of October
The Witches (starts on HBO Max)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
Free Guy (20th Century Studios)
Peter Rabbit 2 (Columbia Pictures)
Coming 2 America (Paramount)
Death on the Nile (20th Century Studios)
Dune (Warner Bros)
Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner Bros.)
Almost 200,000 job losses have been recorded by UK companies since the lockdown began
Since the lockdown began in March, major UK employers have cut 192,831 jobs as follows:
- September 22nd – Wetherspoon – 400 to 450
- September 22 – Whitbread – 6,000
- September 18 – Investec – 210
- September 15 – Waitrose – 124
- September 14 – London City Airport – 239
- September 9 – Lloyds Bank – 865
- September 9 – Pizza Hut – 450
- September 4 – Virgin Atlantic – 1,150
- September 3 – Costa – 1.650
- August 27 – Pret a Manger – 2,800 (including 1,000 announced on July 6)
- Aug 26 – Gatwick Airport – 600
- August 25 – Cooperative Bank – 350
- August 20 – Alexander Dennis – 650
- August 18 – Bombardier – 95
- Aug 18 – Marks & Spencer – 7,000
- August 14th – Yo! Sushi – 250
- August 14 – River Island – 350
- August 12 – NatWest – 550
- August 11th – InterContinental Hotels – 650 worldwide
- August 11 – Debenhams – 2,500
- August 7 – evening standard – 115
- August 6 – Travelex – 1,300
- August 6 – Wetherspoons – 110 to 130
- August 5 – M & Co – 380
- 5 August – Arsenal FC – 55
- August 5 – WH Smith – 1,500
- August 4th – Dixons Carphone – 800
- August 4 – Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk
- August 3 – Hays Travel – up to 878
- August 3 – DW Sports – 1,700 at risk
- July 31 – Byron – 651
- July 30th – Pendragon – 1,800
- July 29 – Waterstones – unknown number of functions at headquarters
- July 28 – Selfridges – 450
- July 27 – Oak Furnitureland – 163 Endangered
- July 23 – Dyson – 600 in the UK, 300 overseas
- July 22 – Mears – less than 200
- July 20 – Marks & Spencer – 950 Endangered
- July 17 – Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200
- July 16 – Genting – 1,642 endangered
- July 16 – Burberry – 150 in the UK, 350 overseas
- July 15 – Banks Mining – 250 Endangered
- July 15 – Buzz Bingo – 573 Endangered
- July 14th – Vertu – 345 July 14th – DFS – up to 200 endangered
- July 9 – General Electric – 369
- July 9 – Eurostar – unknown number
- July 9 – boots – 4,000
- July 9 – John Lewis – 1,300 Endangered
- July 9 – Burger King – 1,600 endangered
- July 7 – Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550
- July 6 – Pret a Manger – 1,000 endangered
- July 2 – Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909
- July 1 – SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk
- July 1 – Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
- July 1 – Harrods – 700
- July 1 – Virgin Money – 300
- June 30 – Airbus – 1.700
- June 30 – TM Lewin – 600
- June 30th – Smiths Group – "some job losses"
- June 25 – Royal Mail – 2,000
- June 24th – Jet2 – 102
- June 24th – Swissport – 4,556
- June 24 – Crest Nicholson – 130
- June 23 – Schuhzone – unknown number of workstations in the headquarters
- June 19 – Aer Lingus – 500
- June 17 – HSBC – UK jobs unknown, 35,000 worldwide
- June 15 – Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
- June 15 – Travis Perkins – 2,500
- June 12th – Le Pain Quotidien – 200
- June 11 – Heathrow – at least 500
- June 11 – Bombardier – 600
- June 11 – Johnson Matthey – 2,500
- June 11 – Centrica – 5,000
- June 10 – Quiz – 93
- June 10 – The restaurant group (owns Frankie and Benny & # 39; s) – 3,000
- June 10 – Monsoon Accessorise – 545
- June 10 – Everest Windows – 188
- June 8 – BP – 10,000 worldwide
- June 8 – Mulberry – 375
- June 5 – Victoria & # 39; s Secret – 800 in danger
- June 5 – Bentley – 1,000
- June 4th – Aston Martin – 500
- June 4 – Lookers – 1,500
- May 29 – Belfast International Airport – May 45
- May 28 – Debenhams (in the second announcement) – Hundreds of jobs
- May 28 – EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide
- May 26 – McLaren – 1,200
- May 22 – Carluccio – 1,000
- May 21 – Clarks – 900
- May 20 – Rolls-Royce – 9,000
- May 20 – Bovis Homes – unknown number
- May 19 – Ovo Energy – 2,600
- May 19 – antlers – 164
- May 15 – JCB – 950 Endangered
- May 13 – Tui – 8,000 worldwide
- May 12 – Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450
- May 11th – P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide
- May 5 – Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
- May 1st – Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide
- April 30 – Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
- April 29 – WPP – unknown number
- April 28 – British Airways – 12,000
- April 23 – Saffron Seats – 400
- April 23 – Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide
- April 21 – Cath Kidston – 900
- April 17 – Debenhams – 422
- March 31 – Laura Ashley – 268
- Mar 30 – BrightHouse – 2,400 Endangered
- March 27 – Chiquito – 1,500 endangered
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