Regal Closing All U.S. Theaters Due To Coronavirus

In a move that seems literally impossible to recover from, Regal has announced they're closing all of their movie theaters starting Tuesday. Many theaters have attempted to restrict attendance, with AMC capping capacity at 50 people. And while some cities, like New York and Los Angeles, are shutting theaters down for the time being, Regal is taking a pre-emptive step and closing theaters everywhere.

Regal Cinemas will shut down all 543 locations in the United States starting tomorrow. "Any time, at any Regal, it's our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests," said CEO Mooky Greidinger. "At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theatres. We value our movie-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving them again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters. The Cineworld Group and Regal Theatres are strong, standing on solid ground and our continued goal is to be The Best Place to Watch a Movie!"

This is bad news all around, especially for people who work at Regal theaters. Will their health insurance be covered? Will they be paid for the time off? Will they be able to return to their jobs assuming Regal opens these theaters up again? These questions linger.

The Regal shut-down is just the latest in a seemingly never-ending list of things being affected by the coronavirus (aka COVID-19). AMC theaters are capping audiences at 50 people per screening, while every theater in New York and Los Angeles is shutting down for the time being. THR reports that nearly every theater is likely to shut down soon, and Regal is merely the first.

Theaters have shut down globally in the time since the virus became so well-known. Close to 70,000 theaters have closed in China, and chains across Europe have been shut down for days. Per THR, movie theaters are closed "in at least 32 markets, while there are partial closings in another 16, including in the U.S., where closures began to be announced in earnest over the weekend."

Earlier today, Universal made history when they revealed they would be releasing The Hunt, The Invisible Man, Emma and the upcoming Trolls World Tour all on VOD, obliterating the traditional theatrical window between big screen and home video. One has to wonder that if more theaters follow Regal's lead and shut down it'll only be a matter of time before more studios take a page from Universal's book and drop new releases to rent on VOD.