Regal Aliso Viejo location closed as of Oct. 8. Regal Cinemas/Cinema Treasures
Two months ago, theater chains around the country began to reopen doors and welcome guests back in to enjoy the cinema experience once again. The reopenings didn’t come back with the best of results. Initially closing almost six months ago now due to the start of the COVID-19 quarantine, plans for reopenings were in effect immediately, while films like “The Quiet Place Part 2,” Marvel’s “Black Widow” and 007’s “No Time to Die” had to delay their releases indefinitely.
Plans to reopen were made with films like Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” and Disney’s “Mulan” releasing alongside the return of cinemas around the country. After only two months of being open, Regal Cinemas now plans to close down almost 536 theaters around the country on Oct. 8, including Regal Kaleidoscope, Aliso Viejo and Foothill Ranch. The closures are a result of lack of revenue Regal has been able to receive due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and families still staying at home.
“This is not a decision we made lightly,” said CEO of Cineworld, Mooky Greidinger, in a statement about the reclosures. “We did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S. The prolonged closures have had a detrimental impact on the release slate for the rest of the year, and, in turn, our ability to supply our customers with the lineup of blockbusters they’ve come to expect from us, as such, it is simply impossible to continue operations in our primary markets.”
While other chains like Cinemark and AMC aren’t closing down yet, AMC lost an estimated $2.7 billion and Cinemark lost $230 million, the theater chains still plan to keep 80% of their locations open in the U.S. Both Cinemark and AMC’s revenue compared to last year during the first and second quarter of financial reports show its dropped 98-99%.
The majority of theater chain revenue does come from their concessions. Not only have ticket sales gone down, but their concession sales have also been lower.
“This is a high-stakes game,” said Jeff Bock, an Exhibitor Relations analyst. “With ‘Tenet’ probably maxing out at $350 million worldwide, that’s just not going to cut it. We have to prepare for the inevitability that one or more of the major chains may not survive if this goes into next summer.”
Theaters like AMC and Cinemark are currently struggling to simply keep the lights on at most locations and Regal had already been struggling financially due to their high prices. Even after their push for their Regal Unlimited monthly subscription service, the chain could not find success and further dug themselves into a financial hole.
Films are continuously pushed back while smaller films are being put on subscription services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. However, even then it isn’t enough to compensate even the smallest of filmmakers. Even with the delays of bigger blockbuster films, the hundreds of staff employed for each film still lack the compensation.
While most Regal Cinema theaters in southern California will be closed, there will be a few select located that will be open including, Irvine Spectrum, Carlsbad, Manchester, La Habra, Temecula, Riverside Plaza and Delta Shores.
“A vaccine is coming,” said Micheal Pachter, an analyst from Wedbush Securities. “If it comes a year from now, I think the owners of the listing chains will change out. If it’s in the next three months, all of them survive, even if the announcement is 10 months from now, I think landlords would work with the movie chains and not force them to go away. It’s the not-knowing that’s the risk.”