World’s No 2 cinema operator to shut all screens in UK, Ireland

LONDON: Cineworld, the world's second-biggest cinema operator, is set to close all its screens in the United Kingdom and Ireland as soon as the coming week, London's Sunday Times reported.

The Regal cinema owner wrote to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden over the weekend to say the industry has become "unviable" because of film studios' decision to postpone big-budget films, the newspaper said.

The new James Bond movie, No Time To Die, became the latest blockbuster to be pushed into next year as the movie industry struggles to get back to business amid the pandemic.

Cineworld declined to comment on the Sunday Times report. The company, which started reopening its sites from July, runs a total of 128 theatres and 1,180 screens in the UK and Ireland.

Cineworld is expected to announce its plan, which could put about 5,500 jobs at risk, as soon as today, the report said.

The release dates of Black Widow and West Side Story have also been pushed back until next year. - REUTERS