SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Regal Cinemas says it will close all of its 536 theaters in the United States by the end of Thursday.
Regal has five multiplex theaters in the Sacramento area, which reopened on a limited basis less than a week ago.
While some customers were glad to get out of the house to see a movie, others were not totally convinced enough precautions could be taken to keep them safe from the coronavirus.
“I recently went to the drive-in because it’s kind of like stay in your car, do your own thing,” said Danielle Vacha from Sacramento. “But I personally wouldn’t go to a movie theater right now just because I’m trying to be safe.”
Regal officials said the release dates for blockbuster movies like the James Bond thriller “No Time to Die” and Marvel’s “Black Widow” have been delayed yet again. Right now, theaters like Regal are showing smaller films or previously released movies that haven’t appealed to big crowds.
It doesn’t help that theaters are limited to 25% of capacity. That’s tough on a businesses that relies on concession sales for 40% of its profit.
Regal theaters won’t be open again until movie studios begin releasing their blockbuster productions — but that won’t happen until movie theaters are fully open and theatergoers return.
One projected blockbuster is a case in point. The Christopher Nolan action film “Tenet” is now featured in theaters. It has earned $282 million overseas but just $45 million in the U.S. while dealing with theater restrictions and shutdowns.
The fear for the industry is that home movie rentals or pay-per-view will become the norm.
“It’s been so long. Everybody’s been at home, everyone is just comfortable at home now,” said Sacramento resident Miranda Boisvert.
Regal Cinemas’ headquarters is in the United Kingdom. Its 536 theaters in the U.S. employ over 4,000 people.