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More than 600 sites will be closed across the two countries from Thursday after the industry was rocked by plans by James Bond studios MGM and Universal to delay the release of the franchise’s latest film.
Cineworld said it would close 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites in the UK, confirming reports over the weekend, and sending shares down by as much as 57% as markets opened in London.
Liverpool’s Picturehouse cinema is based within cultural venue FACT and is owned by Cineworld.
It did not specify how many jobs are at risk in the UK; however, on Sunday, the PA news agency understood that 5,500 would be hit.
Overall around 45,000 employees are affected in both countries, as 536 Regal theatres in the US will shut down because of the decision.
“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.”
On Friday, the release of Bond film No Time To Die was delayed for the second time because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The film was meant to hit cinemas in November, but fans will now have to wait until April 2 next year before seeing Daniel Craig’s final outing in the role.
The movie joins other potential hits such as Black Widow and Wonder Woman: 1984, which have been delayed by the pandemic.
Cineworld said on Monday: “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.”
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said firms had received “a lot of support” after the news broke on Monday.
Asked if the Government will help the chain, she told Sky News: “One of the things Cineworld has cited is that cinemagoers want to be able to see new films coming through, as opposed to just seeing films of the past, and that’s something which the whole industry can work together to deploy.
“Cineworld will have been supported throughout the year through the furlough scheme through other ways the Government has been supporting businesses.
“Conscious that aspects of the main furlough scheme are coming to an end, but there is a successor scheme there.”
Mr Greidinger said Cineworld will wait until “the appropriate time” to talk about reopening.
“Although the delay of the latest 007 blockbuster prompted the decision, Bond isn’t the villain in this piece. The spread of Covid-19 around the world has been a horror movie for the industry and the fresh wave of infections is the latest instalment in what’s been a devastating story for cinema chains.”
She added: “The new jobs support scheme, which will subsidise wages of part-time workers, will provide no lifeline for the 5,500 Cineworld UK employees who will lose their jobs this week and many others across the industry are facing a bleak winter on jobseekers benefit, while they begin the difficult search for new positions in the run-up to Christmas.”
“This is devastating news for Cineworld workers and cinema goers, and will have a knock-on impact on towns and city centres.
“The cinema industry was viable before the crisis and will be afterwards, when the film industry recovers.
“The failure of ministers to recognise the value of shut-down businesses, which now includes many cinemas, means they are consigning thousands of workers to the scrap heap.”
Vue chief executive Tim Richards told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that his company has taken a hit by delays from the studios.
“Our problem right now is we have no movies. This was a big blow for us. We’re likely going to make it through, I’m concerned about the independents and the small regional operators right now that are going to really struggle and when they close they may not reopen,” he said.
“We’ve tried to retain all of our jobs for the 5,500 employees we have in the UK and that’s still our goal. We’re going to try and find a way through this. This was an industry that was not broken.”
Aberdeen – Queens Links
Aberdeen – Union Square
Birmingham – Broad Street
Birmingham – NEC
Boldon, Tyne and Wear
Burton upon Trent
Bury St Edmunds
Eastbourne – The Beacon
Glasgow – IMAX at GSC
Glasgow – Parkhead
Glasgow – Renfrew Street
Glasgow – Silverburn
Harlow – Harvey Centre
Harlow – Queensgate
Leeds – White Rose
London – Bexleyheath
London – Enfield
London – Feltham
London – Fulham Road
London – Ilford
London – Leicester Square
London – South Ruislip
London – The O2 Greenwich
London – Wandsworth
London – Wembley
London – West India Quay
London – Wood Green
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newport – Isle of Wight
Newport (Wales) – Friars Walk
Newport (Wales) – Spytty Park
Swindon – Regent Circus
Swindon – Shaw Ridge
Bath – Little Theatre Cinema
Brighton – Duke of York’s
Brighton – Duke’s At Komedia
Cambridge – Arts
Edinburgh – Cameo
Henley-On-Thames – Exeter Regal
Liverpool – Fact
London – Bromley
London – Clapham
London – Crouch End
London – East Dulwich
London – Finsbury Park
London – Fulham Road
London – Greenwich
London – Hackney
London – Picturehouse Central
London – Ritzy
London – Stratford
London – The Gate
London – West Norwood
Norwich – Cinema City
Oxford – Phoenix
Southampton – Harbour Lights
York – City Screen
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