Cineworld is reportedly taking the decision to close all of its sites in the UK, Ireland and across the US in the coming weeks. The move puts 5,500 UK jobs at risk and comes as the company has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, informing them that the cinema industry is currently “unviable”. Cineworld bosses said that it “is not a decision we have made lightly”.
In July, Cineworld reported a loss of £1.3 billion for the first 6 months of the year. This was due to the mass closure of theatres as part of the national lockdown in March. Although restrictions were partially lifted in the UK in July, a combination of reduced footfall and major film releases being pushed back until next year has meant that the industry is still struggling to make ends meet.
The Head of the UK Cinema Association has said that the decision taken by Cineworld is “indicative of the challenges faced by the entire UK cinema industry at the moment” and added that there would be nobody left “untouched by the current challenges”.
It is believed that Cineworld is hoping that staff will be willing to accept redundancy, aiming to rejoin the company next year when they are able to reopen their 128 UK sites although no date has been given for when this could be.