Cineworld, the U.K.-based parent of No. 2 theatrical operator Regal Cinemas, is reportedly looking to file for bankruptcy as it struggles to emerge from the post-pandemic shutdown and ongoing industry challenges.
The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the move citing sources, said the chain has retained attorneys and consultants familiar with the bankruptcy process, and that the filings are expected soon in the U.S. and the U.K.
Cineworld, which acquired Regal in 2018 for $3.6 billion, earlier this week reported underwhelming financial results, including lower-than-expected ticket sales.
“Despite a gradual recovery of demand since re-opening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations,” Cineworld said in an Aug. 18 statement.
The chain said that reduced ticket sales projections going forward are due to a limited film release slate that is anticipated to continue through November.
“[This is] expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term,” the company said.
Knoxville, Tenn.-based Regal operated 7,200 screens across 549 theaters, employing more than 26,000 people through 2019. Unlike rival AMC Theatres, which managed to secure more than $3.3 billion in post-pandemic funding, Regal almost filed for bankruptcy during the height of the Covid-19 theater closures in 2020 after shuttering all screens.
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