Cineworld to Close All U.K. Venues

Phoenix

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https://variety.com/2020/film/globa...ond-1234791728/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Cineworld is shuttering all 543 of its Regal Cinema venues in the U.S. and all cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland this coming week, just a day after James Bond film “No Time to Diewas pushed to April 2021.

Variety understands from sources that the chain will close all sites in both countries as early as this week, with staff notified ahead of Monday. Regal is the second largest domestic chain in the U.S., while Cineworld is the U.K.’s biggest cinema operator.

In the U.K., Cineworld, which declined to comment, is understood to be writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden this weekend to explain that the exhibition sector is “unviable” due to studios delaying tentpoles as a result of anxious audiences steering clear of cinemas amid the global pandemic. The Cineworld closures will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk in the U.K.

Sources indicate a reopening date hasn’t yet been set, but cinemas could stay closed until 2021.
 

Sheena

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Not surprising really. They’ve had the same four (shite) films on since reopening. I’m amazed that they haven’t bothered putting any decent old films on at all.
 

Diddy

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My local is trying to lure us back with a loyalty card holder week (but mine expired so I able to pay to re-up it anyway)
In fairness there are a lot of films but the only English ones are Tenet and Addams Family(!)
 

Sheena

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I’ve been once (Tenet) since lockdown was lifted so I’m kinda half sad but pleased I won’t have to pay for an unused Unlimited membership.
 

Ellie

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Not surprising really. They’ve had the same four (shite) films on since reopening. I’m amazed that they haven’t bothered putting any decent old films on at all.
Wow. I said the same thing to them on Twitter and they responded to say they were coming up with a new programme of classic films soon.

I stated that the original group of older films they chose to screen were too generic and ones that were always regularly re-released anyway. No doubt they were probably planning an October programme of the SAME classic Horror films.

I suppose they’re a bit stuck really as the general public at large are likely still staying away because of both anxiety and lack of new releases, and their regular customers who are eager to return but aren’t especially interested in watching the likes of Jaws, Back To The Future and Jurassic Park for the millionth time when they’re even on TV and streaming somewhere practically every other week.
 

Sheena

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THIS! Think out of the fucking box! I’d have been here totally for an Almodovar season or a golden era Hollywood season, but I’ve got no interest in seeing Back to the Future again. Especially in a world of Secret Cinema.
 

Ellie

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ALL I wanted was a nice epic 30th Anniversary release of Dances With Wolves. It’s not obscure and perfect for the big screen. It’s also not available to buy or stream digitally anywhere either. Granted it’s due to screen on TV this week, but on the Sony channel which doesn’t even screen in HD on freeview.
 

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THIS! Think out of the fucking box! I’d have been here totally for an Almodovar season or a golden era Hollywood season, but I’ve got no interest in seeing Back to the Future again. Especially in a world of Secret Cinema.
No doubt their planned upcoming programme consisted of Christmas films like It’s A Wonderful Life, Home Alone and Elf, which they show EVERY YEAR ANYWAY.
 

Sheena

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Why aren’t we running Cineworld?

In fairness, even the local arthouse cinema’s selection is pretty shite. Maybe it’s a distribution problem.
 

Sheena

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No doubt their planned upcoming programme consisted of Christmas films like It’s A Wonderful Life, Home Alone and Elf, which they show EVERY YEAR ANYWAY.

Love Actually! We all need to see that AGAIN.
 
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Sheena

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Tenet is still on 8 showings at my local, having just checked. Is that the best they can do?
 

Peekaboo

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Prince Charles cinema in Central London is also showing SAME OLD SAME OLD and even the BFI is doing a "classics" season showing stuff like CASABLANCA...

It's hard because I want to support them and I'd travel to central London for the first time in half a year for a screening but they need to show something interesting to me.
 

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Having said all of this, Vue has a much better selection. I don’t normally check but they have 1992 Aladdin on at 10:15 for kids’ club and I’m entirely tempted to go on my own, even if I do look like a paedo.
 
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My local Cineworld has 6 showings of Cats and Dogs 3: Paws Unite today. :manson:

Sad, but hopefully it's not the total nail in the coffin. :(
 

Ellie

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Why aren’t we running Cineworld?

In fairness, even the local arthouse cinema’s selection is pretty shite. Maybe it’s a distribution problem.
It’s not at all. The studios gave all the cinemas a list of a few hundred films that were being made available for distribution. The chains just decided to only show the likes of Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future etc out of that list.

The only ones I actually made an effort to see were The Karate Kid and The Shawshank Redemption. I did watch The Matrix again in a 4DX screening even though it had a 20th anniversary 4K release just last year anyway. When I got there the 4DX seats didn’t work and they had to give out vouchers at the end.
 

Sheena

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Then they only have themselves to blame
 

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When Tenet was released it was literally showing on a screen every 20 minutes and they scrapped the classic films.

This week they have actually been showing Rocky films, one per day. But only one screening per day at 7:45pm. Make it 3pm on a weekend and 6:30pm on a weekday and I’m there, but 7:45 is too late for me.
 

Sheena

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My local Vue weirdly has three Harry Potter films on today, but not in sync- the first one, then Prisoner of Azkaban and then Goblet of Fire.

WHO MAKES THESE DECISIONS?
 

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This week they have actually been showing Rocky films, one per day. But only one screening per day at 7:45pm. Make it 3pm on a weekend and 6:30pm on a weekday and I’m there, but 7:45 is too late for me.

That's another thing - the BFI only does one screening a day of all their films and for some they only do MATINEES or 3PM on a TUESDAY. They have very few films on show after 6pm. Who's going to go at those times?
 

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Then they only have themselves to blame
I kind of also blame the studios. Far too much reliance of their tentpole $200m blockbusters. They’re mad to think that Mulan/Tenet/Bond could have been the films to “save cinema”.

Sure, they’d bring in much higher than average audiences normally, but it seems like there are no cinematic films these days that cost $30-50m which could easily make a profit without studios having to panic with delays or stupidly high premium rentals. Even if you didn’t like Bill & Ted Face The Music, if there had been 5 other films like that then I’d have happily seen one every week. Sadly those kinds of films are only really being made by Amazon and Netflix now.
 

COB

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I wasn't ready to go back yet, no matter how many emails about free popcorn they send me.
 

Raining On Me

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Although they haven't helped their own cause for all the reasons above, for chains as big as Cineworld even a regularly changing, well thought out list of classics would be unlikely to keep them afloat. There might be small pockets of success and obviously it would be better than the shit show of effort we've got now, but there's no way it'd be enough to sustain however many screens they have - and that's 6+ screens in each base, often 12+! You can be as quirky or unique as possible and still run the risk of drawing a similar number of people who come in for the same old films, possibly less in many places.

Ellie's right, the reliance nowadays, even before covid, seems to hinge on the 400 trillion dollar films and franchises, as well as animations, and almost nothing else. The list of desirable studio films for a fun, easy night's viewing in that mid/low budget range seems to have dwindled and gone elsewhere via Netflix etc. And then people wonder WHY only 1 person is in a screen watching the latest Marvel film, whilst it plays simultaneously in four other screens with another 25 viewings scheduled that day. That's where some imaginative use of classic screenings could have helped to provide alternatives and a small boost potentially, without relying on them, but it's too late now, or at least until this passes.

But then throw in the mask situation - we wear them for necessity in work, travel, shops; who wants to PAY for the experience in what is supposed to be a recreational activity? And then the fact cinemas struggle as it is in a world of streaming etc. It was never looking good.

My local Cineworld, only 6 screens, has always been dead quiet ever since opening regardless of the film. I guess the monthly pass must account for a HUGE part of their income.
 

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Ellie's right, the reliance nowadays, even before covid, seems to hinge on the 400 trillion dollar films and franchises, as well as animations, and almost nothing else. The list of desirable studio films for a fun, easy night's viewing in that mid/low budget range seems to have dwindled and gone elsewhere via Netflix etc. And then people wonder WHY only 1 person is in a screen watching the latest Marvel film, whilst it plays simultaneously in four other screens with another 25 viewings scheduled that day. That's where some imaginative use of classic screenings could have helped to provide alternatives and a small boost potentially, without relying on them, but it's too late now, or at least until this passes.

Wonder if there’s any truth to this
 

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Do Cinemas get preferential rental rates because, I presume, they provide a massive draw of customers who go for food first before they see a film?
 

Ellie

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I was also recently hearing about some American chains that have a different price tiering system compared to the UK. They don’t have the same kind of Unlimited schemes (Movie Pass was never a good equivalent), but for a regular ticket, UK chains generally charge a couple of pounds extra for evenings and weekends which is standard. Some US chains have higher prices for opening night blockbusters, but as the run goes on a couple of weeks down the line the ticket prices go down. How about just making smaller independent films cheaper to see than the latest blockbuster franchise?
 

Sheena

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The BBC report seems to suggest it’s closing forever - I didn’t realise THAT! Wow!
 

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Cinemas have always been on shaky ground. I worked at Odeon for ten years and they were ALWAYS in the red. It’s just not a sustainable business model in an event where they need to make so much money back but can’t operate at even 50%.
 
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Raining On Me

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Wonder if there’s any truth to this

Sounds about right - even though the argument is crazy. All that anguish and bother trying to claw back millions, meaning cinemas suffer too. Isn't that the perfect excuse to make MORE of the mid-budget films and put less pressure on on the top tier ones (of which many these days feel entirely superfluous anyway and less of an event than they used to)?
 

octophone

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The BBC report seems to suggest it’s closing forever - I didn’t realise THAT! Wow!

It appears so. It seems staff are being told that they'll get preferential treatment if they apply when they reopen but another story suggests that this was just softening the blow and most sites are considered non-viable.

There's a massive one in Glasgow - tall building, dominates the skyline. Who or what could ever fill that? I mean, I know the answer, it'll be flats, same as fucking everything else.
 

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I actually think that the cineworld building will be a bugger to convert, as it’s purpose built to be a cinema with huge floor to ceiling heights and large areas with no windows. I don’t think it would be economically viable to convert it. It’ll either sit and gather dust or be demolished.
 

Pingu

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My local Vue weirdly has three Harry Potter films on today, but not in sync- the first one, then Prisoner of Azkaban and then Goblet of Fire.

WHO MAKES THESE DECISIONS?

They have the first four films showing at various point this week so it is possible to watch them in order. They’re then doing the final 4 next week.
 

COB

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The branch round the corner from me takes up a large part of a shopping centre that already has plenty of vacant units, so I can't see anyone hurrying to carve up the space to make more. Maybe it really will only be temporary, or another cinema chain might buy some of the sites up post-Covid?
 

Pingu

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Anyway Vue is one of my major clients so this news does make me SLIGHTLY uneasy. Then again the business models are slightly different and Vue I believe has been more successful at pulling in the punters for the old stuff and the non-movie content (David Attenborough, football etc).
 

Eddie

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The BBC report seems to suggest it’s closing forever - I didn’t realise THAT! Wow!

The report on the website doesn't imply that or am I missing something?

Aside from the independents and Curzon, Cineworld is my favourite nationwide chain because the theatres evoke nostalgia and the power of cinema of old.

Odeon, Vue and Empires can frankly do one. Are Warner cinemas still around?
 

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