Hundreds of movie theaters are closing across the US and UK after the next James Bond movie release was postponed, USA Today reports. The movie chain Cineworld said Monday that it's closing 536 Regal Cinemas in the US and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in Britain as of Thursday, affecting 45,000 employees. It was "not a decision we made lightly," said Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger, who added that they did "everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the US." But with the movie business limping along, and the tentpole Bond film No Time to Die delayed until April, the financial prognosis was grim.
Marvel's Black Widow and Steven Spielberg's West Side Story were also moved to 2021, leaving theaters to rely on the animated comedy Soul (Nov. 20), sci-fi flick Dune (Dec 18), and action-hero Wonder Woman 1984 (Dec. 25). Meanwhile, Cineworld was already reporting low numbers and an $8.2 billion debt in June as it urged governments not to strengthen social-gathering restrictions that would hurt its bottom line—while of course making people safer, per Deadline. But it's not just about Cineworld: A-listers including Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Sofia Coppola, and Jordan Peele last week urged Congress to fund failing movie theaters. "Absent a solution designed for their circumstances, theaters may not survive the impact of the pandemic," they wrote. (Read more movie theaters stories.)