Cineworld issues statement on reports all 128 of its UK and Ireland cinemas will close after ‘Bond’ delay

The company could also shut its 543 Regal Cinema venues in the US

Cineworld has issued a statement after it was reported all of its 128 UK and Ireland cinemas, alongside all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the US, could be set to close.

According to reports, Cineworld Group PLC – the world’s second-largest cinema chain – will write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become “unviable”.

The company has now commented on the alleged plans to shut its cinemas in an official statement. “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,” it reads. “Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”

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Cineworld chiefs have reportedly blamed the decision on the postponement of big budget films in the wake of coronavirus pandemic – though they remain optimistic that if the closures were to take place it would be temporary and that cinemas would re-open next year.

On Friday (October 2) it was announced that the forthcoming James Bond movie No Time To Die would be delayed once again, with the film pushed back within weeks of its scheduled November release to April 2021.

The ninth instalment of the popular Fast and Furious franchise has also been pushed back to May 28 2021 as a result of the pandemic.

Cineworld sign
COVID-19 notices at a Cineworld cinema in Leicester Square on August 9, 2020. Credit: Hollie Adams/Getty Images

The move, which would put up to 5,500 jobs at risk, was strongly criticised by the companies employees via the Cineworld Action Group account on Twitter, who state that they were not notified of the change prior to the story breaking.

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“We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic. Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices,” the group tweeted in the early hours of this morning (October 4).

“However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful.”

The news arrives barely two days after dozens of prominent filmmakers signed an open letter warning the US Congress that physical cinemas face extinction.

Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, Clint Eastwood, Lulu Wang, Martin Scorsese and more have signed an appeal for additional pandemic relief in light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

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