According to reports from Reuters and the Wall Street Journal, Cineworld Group is preparing to file for bankruptcy. Cineworld is the world’s second-largest cinema chain after AMC Theatres.
They have 9,518 screens across 790 sites in 10 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cineworld’s primary brands worldwide are Regal Cinemas in the United States, Cineworld and Picturehouse in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Cinema City in Eastern and Central Europe, and Yes Planet in Israel.
All movie theatre chains took a beating in the COVID pandemic as product shifted to streamers and theatres worldwide were shuttered. While trying to rebuild their balance sheets, cinemas have found that viewing habits have been permanently altered. To get people out to theaters in any numbers it has to be a massive movie, and these have been few and far between.
The runaway success story of the summer is Top Gun: Maverick but that was released back in May, along with Doctor Strange 2. Jurassic World: Dominion did OK. Lightyear, that followed afterwards, did not.
After that it was pretty barren for mega-movies until Thor: Love And Thunder and now that is over the box office view is lean until Black Adam in October. Movies like Thirteen Lives, Day Shift, Prey and The Gray Man, that would have been all over the multiplex in summers past, plugging the gaps between Marvel and Star Wars movies, have been distributed by streamers instead. There is simply not enough product out there to drive customers in.
Cineworld has engaged lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and consultants from AlixPartners to advise on the bankruptcy process. The London-listed company is expected to file a chapter 11 petition in the United States and is considering filing an insolvency proceeding in the UK.