Regal Cinemas Closes All Theaters in the Unit​ed States

Published on March 16, 2020

Regal Cinemas is closing its doors in the United States. For a short while, the theater chain cut attendance in half. Like AMC and other major chains, Regal only allowed 50% attendance. It was hopeful thinking that didn’t pan out. Now, due to the coronavirus, Regal Cinemas is going dark for the time being.

The Closure

The current administration is recommending citizens avoid crowds of more than ten people. Theaters are following orders and closing up. Regal Cinemas is the first major theater chain to do it, closing its 543 locations. Starting Tuesday, the closure will begin. 

What Else to Know?

Soon other major chains will follow Regal Cinemas’ lead. Theaters across Europe and Asia have long been closed. Regal Cinemas is owned by Cineworld. Their CEO, Mooky Greidinger, says safety comes first:

Any time, at any Regal, it’s our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests. At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theaters. We value our movie-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving them again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters. 

Regal will keep moviegoers updated on their apps and websites. 

Their Initial Plans

Regal Cinemas was initially hoping to brave the storm and keep business open. They were taking extra precautions by performing the following steps: 

  • Educating our staff on prevention
  • Emphasizing frequent and proper hand washing
  • Cleaning high contact points more frequently
  • Providing hand sanitizing soap in all restrooms
  • Working with local health authorities
What Else Are Other Theaters Doing?

AMC Theaters have yet to officially close their doors to the public, but expect that announcement any second right now. Most recently, they were only allowing 50 people in per theater. If any theater acted faster on the pandemic than AMC and Regal Cinemas, it’s Alamo Drafthouse. They closed their theaters days ago, although their employees will suffer from the decision. The theater can’t or won’t support them, and the scary thing is, that’s true of probably most movie theaters closing up shop at the moment. There’s no word from Regal on how their employees will fare during this time. 

Other Theaters in the World

Regal Cinemas has no idea when business may resume as usual. In China, though, over 70,000 theaters have been closed down for weeks. Most of Europe only got with the times the last few days. In 32 markets in total theaters have closed down, which is delivering a catastrophic blow to the entertainment industry. A total of $20 billion is expected in losses if the disease keeps spreading and the world keeps turning sour. 

How Are Studios Responding?

By shutting down productions on all major movies. Weirdly, studios are placing two-weeks hiatuses on major productions, such as The Batman. The movies in production will likely have to wait a long time to resume shooting, although some unfinished movies may just get canned altogether. 

Soon enough we may see major studios releasing their biggest and newest titles on VOD for $20 a rental, which Universal announced today. They are the first studio to do it in these uncertain times. While theaters and studios continue to bleed money and jobs remain at risk, movie theaters across the country not as fortunate as AMC and Regal will likely suffer the most. How some cinemas will manage to remain open after all the loss in business remains a mystery and frightening uncertainty. Most likely, theaters won’t be able to take care of their employees who live week to week. The present and future remain bleaker than ever.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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