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Source: Cineworld

Cineworld has confirmed that its 127 sites in the UK and 536 Regal cinemas in the US are “temporarily suspending operations” from Thursday, October 8.

The exhibitor confirmed the move in a statement on Monday, October 5. The closure of the UK sites will include the boutique Picturehouse chain, which Cineworld owns.

The move will impact approximately 45,000 employees, according to the chain.

”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,” said the Cineworld statement. ”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.

”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.”

Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, commented: “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 – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.

”We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was, 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.”

The closure was first reported as under consideration by UK newspaper The Sunday Times at the weekend, with Cineworld initially reporting it was “considering temporary closure”, before today’s confirmation.