Cineworld, the world’s second largest movie theater chain and owner of Regal Cinemas, says it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The British company, which owns the more than 500 Regal Cinemas movie theaters in the United States, 747 sites in the United Kingdom and another 8200 hundred around the world, says the move is to strengthen its financial position in the cinema industry. Cineworld says it expects its movie theaters to continue to operate as usual throughout this restructuring, with some of the less profitable theaters sold in the coming months.
Many movie theater chains have struggled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw many movie theaters close for more than a year. Cineworld says it lost $2.7 billion in 2020 and another $566 million in 2021.
Box office blockbusters such as Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic Park: Dominion and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness led a resurgence in moviegoing in 2022, but a recent dearth of new films, with others going stream to streaming, are causing new headaches for the theater chains.