Regal Movie Theater in Bedford closing

BEDFORD – In the latest blow to the beleaguered film industry, the second-largest movie theater chain in the U.S. is temporarily shuttering its locations Thursday due to a lack of blockbusters on the calendar and major domestic markets like New York remaining closed.

Regal Movie Theater in Bedford

Cineworld Group Plc said Monday that it would close 536 Regal cinemas in the United States and 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues in the United Kingdom this week, affecting some 45,000 employees including their movie theater in Bedford formerly known as Great Escape.

Originally opened in 1997 by the Great Escape Theatres chain, this theater located at 3215 Shawnee Drive in Bedford was acquired by Regal in 2012. It will close on July 20, 2023.

Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger

“This is not a decision we made lightly,″ said Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger. “We cannot be in a situation where we lose more cash when we are open than we lose when we are closed.”

Cineworld has noted high debts and struggling with the effects of the pandemic. Efforts to slow the spread of the virus resulted in the closure of most cinemas for nearly six months and a solid release schedule from Hollywood was devastating to the business. Exhibitors also poured financial resources into enhanced safety and sanitization protocols, including limited-capacity theaters, socially distanced seating, cashless transactions, and staggered showtimes. Without the big releases, Cineworld said it can’t give customers “the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theaters against the backdrop of COVID-19.”

Last week groups representing theater owners, movie studios, and directors issued a plea to U.S. lawmakers to provide relief to ailing movie theaters. The letter said that if the status quo continues, nearly 70% of small to mid-size movie theaters could be forced to close permanently.

Indiana Regal Cinemas locations

Information: Associated Press.