Responding to the pandemic’s continuing drag on the movie industry, the Regal theater chain on October 8 is indefinitely shutting down all 536 of its locations in the U.S., including five in the Houston area.
“This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S. — from putting in place robust health and safety measures at our theaters to joining our industry in making a collective commitment to the CinemaSafe protocols to reaching out to state and local officials to educate them on these initiatives,” Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Regal’s parent company, Cineworld Group, says in an October 5 release.
Greidinger told Sky News that the theaters might be closed for two months or “even a little bit longer.”
Regal operates four theaters in Houston:
- Regal Edwards Greenway, 3839 Weslayan St.
- Regal Edwards Houston Marq*E, 7600 Katy Fwy.
- Regal Edwards West Oaks, 700 West Oaks Mall
- Regal Grand Parkway, 7301 Grand Pkwy.
- Regal Lone Star IMAX, 24720 Tomball Pkwy.
The temporary shutdowns in the U.S. will affect about 40,000 Regal employees. It is the country’s second largest chain of movie theaters, behind AMC.
The Cineworld release cites prolonged theater closures in New York as a reason for its action, limiting the supply of “blockbusters” that movie studios are willing to release. For instance, the debut of the James Bond film No Time to Die has been delayed until April 2021, and movies like Mulan and Greyhound have shifted to online platforms.
Regal operates 27 theaters in Texas, including five in the Houston area, six in the San Antonio area, and two in Dallas-Fort Worth.
This isn't the only cinema chain to suffer from on the ongoing pandemic. For example, while the homegrown Alamo Drafthouse is operating most of its Austin theaters, many of its Dallas-area locations remain closed. Three of its Phoenix-area franchises have permanently closed and filed for bankruptcy protection.