Regal Cinemas Sets Reopening Of U.S. Theaters For August

Regal Cinemas, the second largest theater chain in the U.S., has announced that it will open its U.S. theaters in August. The new Regal Cinemas reopening date comes after Warner Bros. set the theatrical release of Tenet for August in international markets, followed by a September release in the U.S.

Variety reports that Regal Cinemas has set its reopening date for its U.S. locations for August 21, 2020. Regal's U.K. parent company Cineworld made the announcement Monday following Warner Bros. setting the international theatrical release of Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated blockbuster Tenet for August 26, with U.S. theaters soon to follow on September 3.

Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said in a statement:

"Welcoming theatergoers back to our cinemas will be a celebration for not only our team and our industry, but most importantly for the fans who have been anxiously awaiting the year's upcoming releases. With the health and safety of our staff, customers and communities as our top priority, we are happy to invite audiences to return to the timeless theatrical experience that we have all dearly missed."

Regal operates 549 locations in 42 states. The exhibition chain said Monday that it will enforce previously announced health and safety measures that adhere to the latest public health guidelines, such as increased sanitization procedures, new social distancing protocols, and mandatory mask policies for Regal employees and guests. However, theaters in major markets like Los Angeles and New York, as well as many other locations across the U.S., have not yet been approved for reopening by their health departments. It's unclear how many of Regal's locations could be approved to reopen by August 21.

Regal, alongside other major theater chains AMC and Cinemark, closed down its locations in mid-March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has effectively canceled the entire summer movie season. There's been no lack of effort to salvage the summer movie slate, though, with studios scheduling, then delaying theatrical releases for June, July, and finally August, with Regal and other movie chains similarly setting optimistic reopening dates for earlier this summer, only to delay after it was clear that the pandemic was only worsening in the United States. Theaters have been waiting for a major tentpole like Tenet to open in theaters and save their flagging businesses, which is why the chains' reopenings have been dependent on Warner Bros.' scheduling of the Christopher Nolan movie.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.S., with the country recently passing four million new cases. While theaters overseas can responsibly open and be the first to debut major studio films, it's gotten to the point that theaters and studios are acting irresponsibly by trying to resume business before the end of the first wave is in sight.