With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollywood’s traditional system of theatrical releases remains in turmoil. Today the parent company of theater chain Regal announced that all of its locations in the US will be suspending their operations this Thursday, October 8th. The theaters will remain closed indefinitely.
Regal is swooning from twin issues: audiences that are hesitant to return to any kind of indoor gathering place, and movie studios holding back on blockbuster releases until they can bank on nine-figure paydays. While many movies slated for theatrical releases since February have been released on streaming platforms, others have been delayed again and again. With Black Widow pushed back to next year, 2020 will be the first year in more than a decade without a new Marvel movie.
The move comes despite a push by Regal for “CinemaSafe” theaters, adhering to CDC guidelines for indoor gatherings and complying with state and municipal emergency edicts. Regal says that its closure will affect 536 locations and approximately 40,000 employees, but didn’t elaborate on any steps it would be taking to assist them. Without revenue coming in, permanent closure of at least some Regal theaters seems inevitable.