Movie Theaters Face a Winter of Bankruptcy as More Films Push to 2021

As Regal Cinemas shuts down again, exhibitors are now at the mercy of Congress and vaccine developers

After seven weeks, the campaign by American movie theaters to reopen amid the pandemic has collapsed. With the nation’s second largest chain, Regal Cinemas, closing all its locations this week and studios beginning yet another wave of postponements of big movies, the industry now faces a long winter of uncertainty and possible widespread bankruptcy.

The dominoes started to fall when MGM announced last week that it would move the release of the James Bond film “No Time to Die” from November to April 2021 thanks in part to a second wave of COVID-19 infections in the U.K. that is even larger than the one the country faced last spring. Within days Cineworld announced that it would indefinitely close Regal Cinemas as well as its U.K. and Irish theaters this week — decimating about 45,000 jobs.

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Jeremy Fuster

Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • jeremy.fuster@thewrap.com