It’s been a really rough year for the movie industry.
The coronavirus pandemic shut down theaters pretty quickly in the spring, and then, throughout the summer, chains slowly started opening back up.
Plenty of movie releases have been delayed until 2021 (or indefinitely), and those few movies that did release totally bombed at the box office.
Nobody’s going to movies (well, except drive-in movies).
And the recent news that the latest James Bond film has been postponed from November to April 2021 is making the U.S.’s second-largest theater chain go dark.
Here’s what you need to know:
Regal Cinemas’ 500+ locations are all closing as of Oct. 8.
All of Regal’s moviehouses had been closed since March, but the chain was hoping for some end-of-the-year momentum when they reopened in August — ahead of the Warner Bros. release of “Tenet.”
But with the release schedule staying light, operations costs staying heavy, major markets like New York and L.A. staying closed, and moviegoers staying away, Regal says they are shutting back down until further notice.
Theaters will close at the end of the business day on Thursday, Oct. 8.
Closures will also hit Regal’s three sister theater chains.
All of the cinemas in the Edwards Theatres and United Artists Theatres chains are included in the shutdown.
Also, nearly 130 theaters in the U.K. owned by parent company Cineworld will also close.
Expect Regal Unlimited subscribers to be credited for the closure.
Regal has an Unlimited subscription where moviegoers can watch as many movies as they want, whenever and wherever they want. The subscription starts at $18 a month.
When Regal was closed earlier this year, they told Unlimited subscribers that their subscription periods would be extended by the number of days theaters were closed.
Expect a similar offering this time around to Unlimited members.
If you’re willing to wait (or risk it), Regal Gift Cards are super cheap right now.
Raise.com is a marketplace for selling gift cards at a discount. That means the amount you pay is less than the amount loaded on the card.
Regal gift cards are super cheap right now on Raise.com, with many discounted 33.5%. That means a $40 gift card only costs $26.60.
There’s no telling when (or if?) Regal will reopen, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a deeper discount.
Other theater chains are preparing to reopen, despite challenges.
Despite AMC’s dark prediction that they may never reopen, as of Oct. 9, they’ll have reopened 80% of theaters. But not all is well.
A Hollywood Reporter article shared that AMC — the largest theater operator in the U.S. — might run out of money within 6 months.
No. 3 theater operator Cinemark is also on track to reopen more than 80% of theaters this month.
Small and midsize movie theater companies are also in trouble.
The National Association of Theatre Owners released a statement on Sept. 30 saying, “If the status quo continues, 69% of small and midsize movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or to close permanently.”