The credits are rolling on Regal Cinemas, as pandemic closures have prompted U.K-based parent company Cineworld to close all 536 locations nationwide, including 11 in New Jersey, effective Thursday.
The closures impact more than 40,000 jobs nationwide. According to Cineworld, studios have been “reluctant to release their pipeline of new films,” disabling the theaters from providing the public with “the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19.”
The new James Bond film “No Time to Die” was expected to draw the crowds the industry desperately needs to pick up steam after months of government-required closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although New Jersey theaters were allowed to open at 25% capacity Sept. 4, movie theaters in New York have remained close; and MGM, Universal and producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli announced on Oct. 2. that the new Bond film would be delayed until April 2, 2021, in hopes of being seen by a worldwide audience.
“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets,” said Cineworld Chief Executive Officer Mooky Greidinger in a prepared statement on the closures.
“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen,” Greidinger said.
A spokesperson for Regal did not return a request for comment by press time.