Oct 4, 2020

Cineworld set to shut all UK and US screens

Cineworld, the world's second biggest cinema operator, is preparing to close all its screens in the US and UK after further delays to the new James Bond film pushed its struggling business to the brink. Last month the company posted a $1.6bn pre-tax loss for the first six months of the year, during which time its net debt rose to $8.2bn. The closures include Cineworld's 543 Regal theatres in the US and 128 cinemas in the UK, which were banking on November's release of the latest James Bond to boost ticket sales. Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld's chief executive, told the Financial Times last month that the group had received assurances from MGM that Bond would come out as planned and that Cineworld was building up for a big release of the film across its multiplexes. Cineworld is in a fragile position having come into the crisis with high levels of debt following its $3.6bn acquisition of the Regal cinema chain in 2018. The Motion Picture Association and other trade groups this week made a plea to the US Congress for government aid for cinemas, warning that just over two-thirds of small and midsized cinema companies were in danger of failing due to the pandemic.

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