The US movie theater industry has been clinging to the hope that a future blockbuster would save its devastated business. But with Regal Cinemas’ plans to suspend operations again, it’s clear that 2020 is likely over for the movies.
Cineworld Group, the owner of Regal Cinemas, said Sunday it would suspend operations at all of its theaters in the United States and the United Kingdom as coronavirus cases continue to spread. The news sent the company’s London-listed stock down as much as 60% Monday.
And it could be only a matter of time until other major movie theater chains follow suit, according to Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations.
“Imagine if you were on a cruise ship lost in the Bermuda Triangle — that’s about how bad the domestic cinema situation is right now,” Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations told CNN Business.
This is the worst-case scenario for movie theaters, Bock said, noting that “Plan B doesn’t even exist.”
“The virus is simply an antagonist that cannot be overcome by buzzwords, super-powered reviews, or marketing prowess,” he added.