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    Cinema chain Cineworld confirms it will temporarily close 127 sites in UK

    Cinema chain Cineworld confirms it will temporarily close 127 sites in UK from this Thursday putting 5,500 jobs at risk after film studios delay major releases amid pandemic

    • Cineworld set to close its 127 UK and Ireland cinemas putting 5,500 jobs at risk
    • Employees have taken to Twitter to complain they first heard about plans online
    • The decision will affect around 45,000 employees in both the UK and the US
    • Do you work for Cineworld? Get in touch via [email protected] 

    Cineworld has today confirmed plans to temporarily close 127 sites across the UK, affecting up to 45,000 employees. 

    The cinema chain will make closures after big studios started to delay their major film releases to wait for better audiences.

    Cineworld said up to 45,000 employees will be affected by theatre closures in the UK and the US – the cinema giant’s two biggest markets.  

    More than 600 sites will be closed across the two countries from Thursday after the industry was rocked by plans by James Bond studios MGM and Universal to delay the release of the franchise’s latest film.

    Cineworld said it would close 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites in the UK sending shares down by as much as 57% as markets opened in London.

    It is thought up to 5,500 jobs are at risk in the UK. 

    Cineworld today confirmed it was considering the temporary closure of its UK cinemas, as well as its US cinemas, but that ‘a final decision has not yet been reached’

    Are you a Cineworld worker affected by the closures? 

    Do you work for Cineworld? Get in touch via [email protected] 

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    Chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: ‘This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets.’

    On Friday, the release of Bond film No Time To Die was delayed for the second time because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The film was meant to hit cinemas in November, but fans will now have to wait until April 2 next year before seeing Daniel Craig’s final outing in the role.

    The movie joins other potential hits such as Black Widow and Wonder Woman: 1984, which have been delayed by the pandemic. 

    But staff took to Twitter overnight to slam the company for not telling employees about the plans before they were reported.

    One Twitter user said: ‘This is going out to all my fellow Cineworld colleagues up and down the country, wishing you the best in these early hours with the news of the closures.

    ‘Been with Cineworld for 12 years, to find out I’ve not got a job via Twitter; once again; is damn appalling.’

    Another, whose husband works for Cineworld, said: ‘Just checking Twitter before bed … oh looks like we just found out via Twitter that my husbands place of work is closing, thanks for telling your employees Cineworld, finding out on Twitter as usual.

    ‘I guess we’ll wait to hear from them at some point in the future.’  

    A group on Twitter named the Cineworld Action Group also took to the social media site to comment on the reports. 

    A Cineworld staff member, who did not want to be named, said they felt ‘betrayed’.

    The employee said: ‘None of us have been told a single thing yet, so me and my work colleagues are sort of in panic mode right now, wondering what’s going to happen to our jobs, especially this close to Christmas.’  

    Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’.

    Cineworld said today: ‘As major US markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films.

    ‘In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of Covid-19.’

    Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to culture minister Oliver Dowden (pictured)

    Cineworld chiefs will also reportedly write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to say the industry has become 'unviable'

    Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’

    Fast & Furious sequel F9 is pushed back AGAIN to May 2021 

    The Fast And The Furious series will not be seeing the checkered flag anytime soon.

    The release of the highly-anticipated sequel F9 has been delayed again as it is now set for release on May 28, 2021 during Memorial Day weekend it was announced by Universal on Friday.

    Back in March it was reported that the film was delayed to April 3 2021 according to The Hollywood Reporter.

    However the most recent change was made hours after James Bond film No Time to Die delayed its release from November to April 2, 2021.

    Universal is distributing the film internationally.

    The Fast and Furious movies are always big earners at the domestic and international box office and the absence of F9 will impact the 2020 box office in a major way. The past two films have made over $1 billion.

    Just a month earlier the full trailer had been unveiled. 

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    Last week, the release of the highly-anticipated Fast and Furious sequel F9 was also delayed again, while Disney announced last month that its live-action version of Mulan instead debut on its streaming service Disney Plus instead of a theatrical release.

    The new Fast and Furious meanwhile is set for release on May 28, 2021, it was announced by Universal yesterday. 

    Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said firms had received ‘a lot of support’ after the news broke on Monday.

    Asked if the Government will help the chain, she told Sky News: ‘One of the things Cineworld has cited is that cinemagoers want to be able to see new films coming through, as opposed to just seeing films of the past, and that’s something which the whole industry can work together to deploy.

    ‘Cineworld will have been supported throughout the year through the furlough scheme through other ways the Government has been supporting businesses.

    ‘Conscious that aspects of the main furlough scheme are coming to an end, but there is a successor scheme there.’

    Mr Greidinger said Cineworld will wait until ‘the appropriate time’ to talk about reopening.

    Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘The new jobs support scheme, which will subsidise wages of part-time workers, will provide no lifeline for the 5,500 Cineworld UK employees who will lose their jobs this week and many others across the industry are facing a bleak winter on jobseekers benefit, while they begin the difficult search for new positions in the run-up to Christmas.’

    Labour shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens said: ‘This is devastating news for Cineworld workers and cinema goers, and will have a knock-on impact on towns and city centres.

    The latest film in the James Bond series 'No Time To Die', which had been scheduled to debut in theatres on November 11, has now been postponed until April 2021

    The latest film in the James Bond series ‘No Time To Die’, which had been scheduled to debut in theatres on November 11, has now been postponed until April 2021

    How the UK cinema industry took a hit in coronavirus pandemic 

    Today’s news comes as another knock-back for the UK cinema industry, which took a profit hit when the country was plunged into lockdown in March following the outbreak of coronavirus.

    After months of forced closures, Cineworld was due to reopen its theatres on July 10, after lockdown measures were eased by the government, allowing the reopening of cinemas from July 4.

    But it delayed the reopening of its cinemas in the UK by more than two weeks until July 31 to coincide with ‘recent adjustments to the schedule of upcoming movie releases’.

    Social distancing measures were also introduced, including such as one-way systems, perspex screens for staff, mandatory contactless payment and no more pick and mix.

    However, despite reopening, Cineworld raised doubts over its ability to survive a second lockdown as it reported a £1.3bn loss for the first half of the year because of the Covid-19 crisis.

    The cinema chain, which is the largest in the UK and second largest in the world behind Chinese firm Wanda Cinemas, posted pre-tax loss for the six months to June compares with profits of £110m a year earlier.

    Issues were further compounded by a short supply of big blockbusters throughout the summer.

    Christopher Nolan’s spy-thriller Tenet set to be one of the highlights.

    However industry experts have reportedly been ‘spooked’ by the film’s lacklustre performance on the big screen, causing other major studios to postpone their major releases.   

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    ‘The cinema industry was viable before the crisis and will be afterwards, when the film industry recovers.

    ‘The failure of ministers to recognise the value of shut-down businesses, which now includes many cinemas, means they are consigning thousands of workers to the scrap heap.’

    Vue chief executive Tim Richards told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that his company has taken a hit by delays from the studios.

    ‘Our problem right now is we have no movies. This was a big blow for us. 

    ‘We’re likely going to make it through, I’m concerned about the independents and the small regional operators right now that are going to really struggle and when they close they may not reopen,’ he said.

    ‘We’ve tried to retain all of our jobs for the 5,500 employees we have in the UK and that’s still our goal. 

    ‘We’re going to try and find a way through this. This was an industry that was not broken.’

    British Film Institute (BFI) chief executive Ben Roberts raised similar concerns about the prospects of the industry as a whole, but emphasised ‘great reasons to visit your local cinema – as distributors continue to offer new independent films to audiences’.

    His call to get customers back into seats was echoed by the Government, which promised a package of more than £1.5billion to help the arts and culture industries recover from the pandemic in July.

    A spokesman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: ‘The Government is supporting cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions, business rates holiday and bounce-back loans.

    ‘Independent cinemas are also eligible for a share of £30 million from our unprecedented £1.5 billion culture recovery fund, and funding has started to be allocated already.

    ‘Cinemas up and down the country are open for business and Covid secure.

    ‘We urge the British public to support their local cinema and save jobs by visiting and enjoying a film in accordance with the guidance.’ 

    A statement on Twitter read: ‘MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of NO TIME TO DIE, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April 2021 in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience.

    ‘We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing NO TIME TO DIE next year.’

    Reports of Cineworld closure plans comes amid a bloodbath of jobs on the high street, with 193,731 job losses now announced by major British employers since the start of the lockdown in March. 

    Last week, TSB has said it will cut around 900 jobs as part of plans to close 164 of its high street bank branches.

    The Edinburgh-based bank said it expects most of the redundancies to be voluntary but did not rule out forcing staff out. 

    Major high street chains including Boots, WH Smith and Marks and Spencer had already announced job cuts.

    Lunch chain Pret a Manger announced 2,800 job cuts earlier this year, while coffee giant Costa announced plans to cut 1,650 jobs.

    Nearly 200,000 job losses revealed by UK firms since lockdown began 

    Some 192,831 job losses have been announced by major British employers since the start of the lockdown in March as follows:

    • September 22 – Wetherspoon – 400 to 450
    • September 22 – Whitbread – 6,000
    • September 18 – Investec – 210
    • September 15 – Waitrose – 124
    • September 14 – London City Airport – 239
    • September 9 – Lloyds Bank – 865
    • September 9 – Pizza Hut – 450
    • September 4 – Virgin Atlantic – 1,150
    • September 3 – Costa – 1,650
    • August 27 – Pret a Manger – 2,800 (includes 1,000 announced on July 6)
    • August 26 – Gatwick Airport – 600
    • August 25 – Co-operative Bank – 350
    • August 20 – Alexander Dennis – 650
    • August 18 – Bombardier – 95
    • August 18 – Marks & Spencer – 7,000
    • August 14 – Yo! Sushi – 250
    • August 14 – River Island – 350
    • August 12 – NatWest – 550
    • August 11 – InterContinental Hotels – 650 worldwide
    • August 11 – Debenhams – 2,500
    • August 7 – Evening Standard – 115
    • August 6 – Travelex – 1,300
    • August 6 – Wetherspoons – 110 to 130
    • August 5 – M&Co – 380
    • August 5 – Arsenal FC – 55
    • August 5 – WH Smith – 1,500
    • August 4 – Dixons Carphone – 800
    • August 4 – Pizza Express – 1,100 at risk
    • August 3 – Hays Travel – up to 878
    • August 3 – DW Sports – 1,700 at risk
    • July 31 – Byron – 651
    • July 30 – Pendragon – 1,800
    • July 29 – Waterstones – unknown number of head office roles
    • July 28 – Selfridges – 450
    • July 27 – Oak Furnitureland – 163 at risk
    • July 23 – Dyson – 600 in UK, 300 overseas
    • July 22 – Mears – fewer than 200
    • July 20 – Marks & Spencer – 950 at risk
    • July 17 – Azzurri Group (owns Zizzi and Ask Italian) – up to 1,200
    • July 16 – Genting – 1,642 at risk
    • July 16 – Burberry – 150 in UK, 350 overseas
    • July 15 – Banks Mining – 250 at risk
    • July 15 – Buzz Bingo – 573 at risk
    • July 14 – Vertu – 345 July 14 – DFS – up to 200 at risk
    • July 9 – General Electric – 369
    • July 9 – Eurostar – unknown number
    • July 9 – Boots – 4,000
    • July 9 – John Lewis – 1,300 at risk
    • July 9 – Burger King – 1,600 at risk
    • July 7 – Reach (owns Daily Mirror and Daily Express newspapers) – 550
    • July 6 – Pret a Manger – 1,000 at risk
    • July 2 – Casual Dining Group (owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge) – 1,909
    • July 1 – SSP (owns Upper Crust) – 5,000 at risk
    • July 1 – Arcadia (owns TopShop) – 500
    • July 1 – Harrods – 700
    • July 1 – Virgin Money – 300
    • June 30 – Airbus – 1,700
    • June 30 – TM Lewin – 600
    • June 30 – Smiths Group – ‘some job losses’
    • June 25 – Royal Mail – 2,000
    • June 24 – Jet2 – 102
    • June 24 – Swissport – 4,556
    • June 24 – Crest Nicholson – 130
    • June 23 – Shoe Zone – unknown number of jobs in head office
    • June 19 – Aer Lingus – 500
    • June 17 – HSBC – unknown number of jobs in UK, 35,000 worldwide
    • June 15 – Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100
    • June 15 – Travis Perkins – 2,500
    • June 12 – Le Pain Quotidien – 200
    • June 11 – Heathrow – at least 500
    • June 11 – Bombardier – 600
    • June 11 – Johnson Matthey – 2,500
    • June 11 – Centrica – 5,000
    • June 10 – Quiz – 93
    • June 10 – The Restaurant Group (owns Frankie and Benny’s) – 3,000
    • June 10 – Monsoon Accessorise – 545
    • June 10 – Everest Windows – 188
    • June 8 – BP – 10,000 worldwide
    • June 8 – Mulberry – 375
    • June 5 – Victoria’s Secret – 800 at risk
    • June 5 – Bentley – 1,000
    • June 4 – Aston Martin – 500
    • June 4 – Lookers – 1,500
    • May 29 – Belfast International Airport – 45
    • May 28 – Debenhams (in second announcement) – ‘hundreds’ of jobs
    • May 28 – EasyJet – 4,500 worldwide
    • May 26 – McLaren – 1,200
    • May 22 – Carluccio’s – 1,000
    • May 21 – Clarks – 900
    • May 20 – Rolls-Royce – 9,000
    • May 20 – Bovis Homes – unknown number
    • May 19 – Ovo Energy – 2,600
    • May 19 – Antler – 164
    • May 15 – JCB – 950 at risk
    • May 13 – Tui – 8,000 worldwide
    • May 12 – Carnival UK (owns P&O Cruises and Cunard) – 450
    • May 11 – P&O Ferries – 1,100 worldwide
    • May 5 – Virgin Atlantic – 3,150
    • May 1 – Ryanair – 3,000 worldwide
    • April 30 – Oasis Warehouse – 1,800
    • April 29 – WPP – unknown number
    • April 28 – British Airways – 12,000
    • April 23 – Safran Seats – 400
    • April 23 – Meggitt – 1,800 worldwide
    • April 21 – Cath Kidston – 900
    • April 17 – Debenhams – 422
    • March 31 – Laura Ashley – 268
    • March 30 – BrightHouse – 2,400 at risk
    • March 27 – Chiquito – 1,500 at risk
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