“Facing situation where it is better to be closed than to be open,” says Cineworld/Regal CEO – Could be 1-2+ months before they reopen

As mentioned Saturday (see: Cineworld To Close All 543 Regal Cinemas After No Time To Die delay, says Variety sources), Cinemark is closing all Regal Cinemas. This has been confirmed by the company and is scheduled at the end of business this Thursday 10/8/2020.

“Might be a month, might be two months (before we’ll reopen),” says Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger in CNBC interview (see video interview for full context below).

Mooky gave an interview this morning explaining why they chose to close all the theaters in the United States and James Bond being delayed is only one of the problems. It’s not being able to open theaters completely in the two biggest movie theater states: New York and California. This is a main driver in the decision because studios want those major markets more fully open before they release their biggest budget movies (Black Widow, No Time To Die, Wonder Woman 1984, etc). California is about 50% open and New York is still shuttered, despite indoor dining, bowling alleys, casinos being allowed to open.

After hearing what Cineworld main man Mooky has to say, credit two state government for not determining it’s safe enough to allow them to reopen. Maybe it’s not safe enough in those two states, but we’ve made the same observation before that casinos clearly are at least equally as high risk as movie theaters — and yet they’ve reopened.

On the subject of new movies, this is more complex and deserved some better interview question than the interviewer was informed enough to ask. I mean, talk about lobbing clueless softballs.

Yes, they aren’t getting the big budget movies because studios are delaying those titles. We’ve pointed out specific movies Cineworld/Regal should have shown recently while they were open like Bill and Ted Face The Music, but chose not to do so because it was a day and date release. I wish more news articles and reporting would highlight this important detail, but it’s continually left out as if it’s almost completely the fault of the studios and government for why movie theaters don’t have more new movies playing.

It’s not. It’s part of the theater chain’s fault, too, why they don’t have more new movies.

What about Mulan? Why wouldn’t Mooky and his team talk with Disney about Mulan? It was released internationally, but only on Disney+ plus an additional $30 in America. A few weeks later, it doesn’t require the Disney+, it can be watched on PVOD. This should have had a US release as well. Doesn’t sound like the movie performed that well, but certainly Regal could have worked out a deal with Disney to screen that movie. Somehow, some way — and I’m betting it’s because it was day and date release — that they didn’t.

I just wish somebody else in all this reporting and interviewing would ask the logical question, “if you temporarily ignore the theatrical window and embrace more direct to streaming titles you can show plenty of new movies, so why won’t you try that?”

Maybe some day someone with a microphone will ask execs like Mooky these hardball questions. Cineworld/Regal is the same company who has vowed never to show movies that don’t respect the theatrical window and yet he is whining about being like a grocery store without groceries? Terrible analogy for those who deep dive the facts.

Again, they don’t have to stick by whatever the temporary decision they make with the theatrical window once the pandemic is over. They seem to feel if they violate their principles, if they make an exception during these times they won’t be able to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

Putting all that aside, it seems like Cineworld/Regal might have hung in there, if they could have gotten New York theaters open and more like the 90%+ theaters they wanted in California. That would have given studios more incentive to stick with the November releases. That’s all spilled milk we can’t cry over. Now we’re looking at them more realistically reopening around Christmas.

Stick a fork in 2020 at the movie theaters in the United States. It’s game, set and match — for you know what.

3 thoughts on ““Facing situation where it is better to be closed than to be open,” says Cineworld/Regal CEO – Could be 1-2+ months before they reopen

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