Cineworld will be shutting all 128 of its cinemas in the UK and Ireland, it has been reported by the Sunday Times.
The UK’s biggest cinema chain will be issuing a letter to Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden warning that the industry has become “unviable" due to film release delays, threatening almost 5,500 jobs.
The chain warned last month that increased restrictions or film delays as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic could force it to raise funds following a half-year pre-tax slump of 1.6 billion US dollars (£1.3 billion).
It said it remains in talks with lenders regarding extra funding for encroaching banking agreements, as it requests further finances in the wake of closing venues.
“If governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may therefore oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity”, the group said.
Cineworld added that 561 of its 778 screens worldwide have opened up again, while 200 cinemas in the US, six in the UK, and 11 in Israel remain closed.
Extra financial support would be needed, the group explained, if cinemas still closed in the US don’t open before the end of October or if key movie releases are delayed to 2021.
Cineworld has already raised a further 360.8 million US dollars (£284.1 million) to keep the group afloat. However, there is a “severe but plausible scenario” where a second wave of coronavirus cases saw long-term cinema closures, then the group would be in breach of banking agreements in December and June 2021 further financing would be required to continue to operate.
This follows the delay of the new James Bond film ‘No Time To Die’ until spring just weeks before it was meant to hit screens.
F9, the newest installation in the Fast and Furious saga, was also pushed back by Universal, with a new release date scheduled for May 2021.