Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of “tough times ahead” for cinemas following the news that Cineworld will be closing all its UK and US venues.
The chain confirmed earlier today (October 5) that it would “temporarily” shut its cinemas, putting 45,000 jobs at risk – including 5,500 in the UK – amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Reacting to the news, Johnson told the press (via Metro): “Obviously we hope to reduce, to keep the numbers of people who lose their jobs down as much as we can, but clearly there are going to be tough times ahead.
“That’s why we’ve already invested £190billion in supporting jobs, livelihoods around the country. Supporting local cinemas – I think we’ve already put £30million in.
“What I would say to people is that local cinemas do now have ways of making their shows go on in a COVID-secure way and I’d encourage people to go out to the cinema, enjoy themselves and support those businesses,” he added.
In their earlier statement, Cineworld said: “Cineworld confirms that it 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 8 October 2020.
“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.”
The confirmation came after it was announced that the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, would be pushed back until next spring from its planned November release date.
Meanwhile, fellow chain Odeon cinemas are set to operate a weekend-only model at a quarter of its venues from this weekend, while Vue is looking at “all options”, including temporary closure, at its own venues.