“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.

Cineworld To Close All 543 Regal Cinemas After No Time To Die delay, says Variety sources

Am reminded of the scene in Naked Gun where the policeman says: “Move on, nothing to see here”

This news is understandable, but sad and unfortunate. All United States Regal Cinemas to close, all cinemas in Ireland and the U.K as well.

UPDATE 10/4/20 @ 10:25am PT: Cineworld posted to their Twitter account to confirm they are “considering” closing but no official decision has been made yet:

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.

Cineworld to Close U.S., U.K. Cinemas In Response to James Bond Delay – Variety

Fellow Regal Unlimited customers, all we can say is guess we’ll have to wait until they reopen again. They never charged us for the monthly subscription, despite saying they would a month after reopening. Guess they decided it wasn’t worth the hassle (?).

The underlying culprit remains the pandemic, but the more immediate concern is not enough new movie content. No Black Widow, No Time To Die also delayed. Heck, movies like Greenland were bailing on theaters.

Just look at the movies in the above picture being offered. Hocus Pocus, despite the timeliness, is not going to bring moviegoers back in large numbers, Tenet attendance was cratering, The New Mutants and Infidel? Forget about it. The Empire Strikes Back is worth seeing again, but that’s it. I saw they had Akira in 4K (not pictured) and was interested in seeing that. I might have to rush out to the theater tomorrow and catch it while I still can.

2020 at the movie theaters reminds me of this scene in Naked Gun

Guess until further notice we won’t be seeing any more new movies at the theater. Nothing else is open to even allow us to in our area. We just went through this for over 5 months. Hopefully, this time around won’t be as long. The reality is this isn’t totally shocking after Black Widow and No Time To Die bailed.

It’s hard to imagine another movie theater year worse than 2020. Prepare for more movie delays …

When Regal Cinemas Reopen “Temporarily” No FREE Refills for Large Popcorn and Soda

You might have heard me gasp when I realized that one of the safety requirements when Regal Cinemas — IF — reopens on August 21 as planned is that they will not be offering refills on large popcorn and soda.

They also will require electronic ticket purchasing. In the past there has been a 50 cent “convenience fee” for that payment method. A little curious if that will be waived or still in tact.

Bolding below is mine.

Face masks will be required of guests in lobbies, hallways, restrooms and in auditoriums when not eating or drinking. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be posted at entrances. Vending machines and water fountains will not be available for use. When it comes to concessions, the menu will be limited, and self-service condiment stations will be closed. Refills on large drinks and popcorn will be temporarily suspended, and every other register will be closed.

Here’s what the moviegoing experience will look like when Regal theaters reopen this summer – ABC13 Houston

Now you might be thinking: big deal, who needs that much popcorn? Consider this, if you’re paying $15 for large popcorn and soda — and that’s what it cost roughly before the pandemic, the free refill essentially cut the price in half. When we watched multiple movies, we’d buy the large and get the free refill for the second movie. Now, it sounds like we will either be foregoing popcorn on the second film or dropping another 15+ bones, if that’s the cost when they reopen.

Wonder if the cost of the popcorn and soda will be reduced?

As previously reported (see: Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest), the soda brand has changed from Coca Cola in Regal to Pepsi. Not sure how many will still care about this brand change (we don’t).

Just having theaters open to go watch any movies will be good news. Still not very comfident they will reopen as scheduled.

Regal Cinemas now saying August 21 it will reopen in US, Tenet goes international first, then US

If you’re keeping track of when movie theaters are reopening, you already knew that they were supposed to open “mid to late August” … well, now at least Regal is picking a specific date: August 21.

Furthermore, Tenet, that elusive Christopher Nolan title is scheduled to open internationally first, then in the United States — whatever theaters are open, of course.

Regal’s U.K. parent Cineworld made the announcement on Monday afternoon following Warner Bros. disclosure that it will open Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller “Tenet” in international markets on Aug. 26 with a Sept. 3 launch in the U.S.

Regal Cinemas Announces August Reopening of U.S. Theaters – Variety

The graphic in the article linked above is worth addressing. That graphic states 50-60% capacity of movie theaters are allowed when they open.

We live near the busiest movie theater corridor in the state and there are currently no theaters open here, so that graphic, while looking colorful and good is pretty much worthless.

Have another post written that I’ve been holding onto in draft status that shows how many theaters are in the United States and the % that are open currently. Thought about including that information here, but am holding off until it is closer to the theaters reopening. In this case, that will be around the middle of August. Maybe the data will change for the better by then, so I can show what it was in July and what it’s like in August. The numbers are depressing right now. We all know not many theaters are open in America, save for Drive-ins.

Internationally, theater openings are going better. China just finished up its first reopening weekend and the movie sales cash register is ringing.

Stay tuned. If history is our guide to the future, there will be more release date changes. At least now we know August 21 for Regal in the United States. I hope this date holds. If it’s safe to reopen, of course.

Regal Cinemas Delays Reopening Once Again – Now Closed 126+ days – Tenet exploring outside US premiere first

Regal Cinemas has been closed since March 17, 2020 — that’s 126+ days and counting

As anticipated (see: Warner Bros. pulls plug on Tenet August 12 release, no 2020 release date announced), Regal Cinemas has delayed opening on July 31. Like Warner Bros. initially decided with Tenet, they haven’t set a specific date yet.

While this might make sense today for Regal, they need to pick a date at some point ASAP. Even if that date needs to be delayed again. Some defined date is better than no date.

Regal had initially planned on reopening on July 10th, in order to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on its original July 17th premiere date. Not long after that film got delayed, Regal pushed back its reopening date to July 31st. As of Wednesday morning, the homepage of the Regal website no longer shows July 31st as its grand reopening. Instead, the page explains that a new reopening date will be announced at a later time.

Regal Cinemas Delays Reopening Once Again

What happens next? Based on what’s already happened and what we know, we can come up with some reasonable guesses.

AMC hasn’t announced if it’s going to delay reopening on July 30, but that’s likely to happen very soon. They’ve been out securing up cash through debt restructuring, so they can stay in business as long as possible. Probably announcing that they aren’t going to reopen as planned isn’t something debtors want to contemplate, which might explain the delay. Regal getting out a little ahead of them doesn’t mean much.

Disney will likely announce plans to push back Mulan. That leaves a very small number of movies left for August with the noteworthy title being Bill & Ted Face The Music. My guess is that is pushed back soon as well, leaving movies that either go straight to VOD, get purchased by Netflix, Amazon or other streaming channels for premiere.

Or a curious new path we haven’t discussed here in much depth yet.

Opening theatrically outside the US first

Hollywood Reporter has a story about Warner Bros. flirting with a Tenet launch that opens first internationally.

Just six weeks ago, it would have been unfathomable to imagine debuting a $200 million tentpole without the entire U.S. moviegoing market in play, led by Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. But with COVID-19 cases rising in L.A. and cinemas still shut in Gotham, the thinking has changed despite the risk of piracy. On a global basis, a $200 million tentpole such as Tenet would open at the same time in most territories across the world, although China can be a wild card.

‘Tenet’ Tosses Playbook: Staggered Rollout May Be New Box Office “Normal”

The traditional thinking has been to use domestic as an anchor for movie premieres over fear of piracy. Warner Bros. – and probably the financial people — want to see Tenet start making some money back ASAP and the movie theater business overseas is in better shape than the United States.

If August doesn’t have the majority of movie theaters reopened in the US, we’re now looking into September. Wonder Woman 1984 seems like the next title that gets pushed back again or possibly explores an international distribution initially.

Strap in, this ride is about to get even bumpier.

Regal Cinemas Announces Classic Movie Screenings Starting July 10 (IF they reopen): Rocky, Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, Jurassic Park and more

Despite the delay of Tenet and Mulan to August (see: Tenet Delayed Again to August 12 – Summer Movie Theater Viewing Slipping Away), Regal Cinemas continues to stay the course of their announcement of reopening July 10.

According to a series of tweets from Regal’s official Twitter account (@RegalMovies), they have announced some of the classic movies that will be screening.

This is a good selection of movies to watch or rewatch on the big screen. Any in particular you’re interested in watching/rewatching in the theater, let us know in the comments. And, you might want to read the tweet replies, as some folks are saying it’s “too soon” and to “wait.”

This, in fact, might be the reality in some (many?) areas.

As of this writing, all our local Regal theaters continue to show no movie showtimes available for presale tickets (see topmost image). Being July 10 is only a couple weeks away from the posting of this article logic would suggest that at any time now the movie times will appear.

Unless they decide not to reopen, which is entirely possible, especially considering phase 4 in our area is being slowed due to spikes in COVID-19.

Credit: The Seattle Times June 27, 2020

We live in a county just south of the highest percentage of COVID-19 cases (King County – Seattle) highlighted in red on the image shown above. The graph to the left shows the increase in COVID-19 cases has risen to levels seen on 4/1 a couple weeks after non-essential businesses were closed. Deaths, if there is any positive in this data, have continued to decline.

I’m not sure if Regal or AMC will open in a couple weeks based on this data. Throughout this pandemic, I’ve maintained that the theaters should reopen as soon as possible when it is safe. I’m no scientist or health care professional, but the data above makes a strong case in our area that it isn’t safe yet.

I’m among the group that strongly wants to see movie theaters reopen, but not at the cost of public safety. If they do reopen on July 10, as planned, I’m going to be there, but this isn’t clear bearing the data shown above.

I’ve been waiting to post movies coming to theaters in July because changes to movie release dates continue to be delayed. This is yet more proof that nothing is predictable in these current times. Will likely do again like June (see: Originally Planned 9 Movies COMING TO THEATERS in June 2020 – Actual: 3 VOD, 0 Wide Theater Releases). I was hoping we might be getting back to normal, but that seems premature.

When Do You Think Movie Theaters Will Reopen?

We’ve covered in a prior post if you’re going to wait or visit right away and if you’re required to wear a mask (see: Will You Watch More or Less Movies in Theaters That Require Wearing a Mask?), a question I haven’t asked is when do you think movie theaters will reopen?

Will movie theaters open in July? Yes/no? In some areas, at least, I think the answer is no, despite theater announcements to the contrary. Government regulations may prevent — and rightly so — this from happening.

Will You Be Smuggling in Coca-Cola Products To Regal Theaters When They Reopen?

Regal Cinemas official website is now sporting the Pepsi logo, not Coca-cola. When they come back, as announced previously (see: Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest), they will presumably be serving Pepsi products.

I know, this isn’t newsworthy anymore really – and yet it will be when Regal Cinemas open again. Spring 2020 has already been weird and unprecedented, but there was never any official date of this soda change announced other than in the spring.

Unfortunately, it seems spring will have passed before the theaters open again.

As mentioned before, the soda switch is largely a non-event for me. I drink both soda products and actually prefer Pepsi and 7-up over Coca-cola and Sprite, but there is one small silver lining, Regal will not have to worry as much about the soda change as if they just overnight switched while their theater was still open and operational.

Now, when they come back, moviegoers will likely be happy with the ability to see movies in the theater again, not that they can’t drink Coke with their popcorn.

(unless smuggled in, of course, hence the post title)

The other thing I’m curious about is all those college produced short videos that used to play right before the movies. Previously those were all sponsored (perhaps even co-financed?) by Coca-cola. Will Pepsi be sponsoring these now? Will Olivia Wilde from Booksmart be introducing these new short advertorials (which basically just pitched how great it was having popcorn and Coca-cola, er now … Pepsi?)

I realize none of this is all that important. Except to those who are very passionate Coca-cola products fans.

So, honesty time is upon us, will you be smuggling in your Coca-cola products into Regal Cinemas when they reopen or OK with Pepsi?

Regal Closes All US Theaters, Suspends Billing for Unlimited Pass Customers

This is a sad day for movie theater fans. Finding a movie to play in a theater — any theater — in any United States city? Difficult, perhaps soon to be impossible. AMC and Regal Cinemas have closed all their U.S theaters.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter they expect most, if not all, cinemas in the U.S. to follow suit and go dark in the coming days, much as in Europe and parts of Asia. Regal is the first U.S. circuit to make a blanket announcement.

Regal to Close All U.S. Theaters Indefinitely Amid Coronavirus Pandemic | Hollywood Reporter

We’re down in Las Vegas right now and yesterday we caught — literally — the last showing of The Hunt ⭐️⭐️ at 4:30pm at the Boulder Station casino in Las Vegas. We then tried to go down to the Palace Station for the Cinebarre and it was already closed (see sign above).

We received a note from our Regal Unlimited app that they are suspending billing temporarily. We were both wondering if we’d be billed $42 USD for the month when there were no movies we could see, even if we wanted. Turns out that Regal already has planned this out. Good for them. We wish the theaters were still open, but appreciate not being charged for something we are now unable to use.

Unconfirmed as of this writing, but I believe Cinemark theaters in Las Vegas are still open — they are showing movie times as of moments ago — so movies can still be seen in those theaters, but who knows how much longer they’ll hold out.

MGM has closed down their 14 properties on the strip in Vegas, and that alone feels weird. Even during 9/11, which by the way, we were also in Las Vegas, everything stayed open.

How long will these theater closures last? We tried asking questions but even the employees we spoke to were told nothing. Only that they needed to close and there were no answers as to when the theaters would reopen.

Sad, sad days.

Regal Cinebarre Issaquah Closes + January 2020 Viewing Challenge Complete

Regal Cinebarre in Issaquah Washington has closed permanently, bought by Costco

Sad news whenever a cool movie theater closes. Some readers might remember Kara and I talking about our visit to the Regal Cinebarre in Issaquah.

A notice on the front door of the movie theater said: “Unfortunately, our Cinebarre Issaquah location has closed permanently. We want to thank our guests for years of loyalty, and we will cherish all the fun memories we had together throughout our time here.

Costco purchases Regal Cinebarre Issaquah | Issaquah Reporter

Unfortunately, the location was off the beaten path and wasn’t getting enough business to stay afloat. The Regal Cinnebarre at Mount Lake Terrace is still open. That’s another 45 minutes or so away and almost two hour drive from us, but at least we can still visit a Regal Cinebarre “locally.”

We’ll be in Las Vegas again in March and probably visiting the Palace Station Cinebarre. We remain fans of the dinner and a movie concept but, like all businesses, to remain profitable and competitive “just being there” isn’t enough.

January 2020 21+ New Movies Watched Viewing Challenge — SUCCESS

On the streaming front, might as well update our January 2020 Movie Viewing Challenge: 21+ New/Unseen Movies. The complete list of new/unseen movies watched from January 1 – January 31, 2020 is listed below, ranked by rating.

  1. 1917 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  2. A Quiet Place ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. Lady Bird ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Danny Collins ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  5. The Rhythm Section ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  6. Patchwork ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  7. Little Deaths ⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  8. Bad Boys For Life ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. The Last Full Measure ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Tammy and the T-Rex ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  11. Phil Spector ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. The Intruder ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  13. Easy To Learn, Hard To Master: The Fate of Atari ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  14. Like A Boss ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  15. I Want To Marry Ryan Banks ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  16. Doolittle ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  17. Just Mercy ⭐️⭐️½
  18. The Marshes ⭐️⭐️½
  19. What Men Want ⭐️⭐️½
  20. Clownado ⭐️⭐️½
  21. Bumblebee ⭐️⭐️½
  22. The Fanatic⭐️⭐️
  23. First Response ⭐️⭐️
  24. The Call Up ⭐️⭐️
  25. Always Will ⭐️⭐️
  26. The Grudge (2020)⭐️⭐️
  27. Gretel and Hansel⭐️½
  28. Final Sale ⭐️
  29. Underwater ⭐️
  30. The Turning ½

Stand out movies in January for me were 1917, A Quiet Place (just took me totally by surprise with how it was done) and Lady Bird.

I’ll be posting about the February 2020 Viewing Challenge separately, but if you want to get started watching themed movies, be thinking Valentine’s Day and romance films and you’ll be right on track.

Regal Cinemas Switching From Coca Cola to Pepsi Products in Spring 2020 Causes Some Soda Fan Unrest

Do you prefer Pepsi or Coca-cola?

From red to blue in the neverending battle over the dominant sugar water.

Regal Cinemas will be the first of the big three cinema chains to split from Coca Cola and go with Pepsi products starting in Spring 2020.

it ended the exchange with a movie poster-style announcement that Pepsi products would be coming to Regal Cinemas this spring.

One of America’s Biggest Movie Theater Chains Is Switching to Pepsi and People Aren’t Happy | Food & Wine

Personally, I prefer Pepsi over Coke, but am OK with either choice, so this is a non-event for me. However, I know fans are passionate one way or the other. This could have negative implications for some Regal customers who switch to AMC or Cinemark (if they also have those theaters in their area, of course).

I also like the idea that one brand doesn’t dominate all three major theater chains. In the spirit of business competition — which ultimately is best for customers — having a split between the soda brands in the major theaters is good.

For me the taste of Coke has a little more bite to it than Pepsi, hence the reason I like it better. Also, I prefer 7-up to Sprite for the same reason. Coca-cola products tend to have an edgier taste to them. Again, I can drink either products, but prefer Pepsi.

Which do you prefer, Pepsi or Coca-cola? Why?