The three largest theater chains in the United States have announced that all of their movie theaters will close indefinitely as cinemas go dark across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Today, Cinemark said it is closing all of its 345 sites “temporarily” as a proactive measure in support of its employees, guests and communities.
The announcement came following AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas saying Monday that all their theaters will shutter.
Noting that these are “absolutely unprecedented and evolving times,” Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said in a statement the decision to go dark was “incredibly tough, but but we know it is the right thing to do as global coronavirus concerns continue to escalate.”
AMC Theatres is closing all of its U.S. locations for at least six to 12 weeks as cinemas across the country go dark in unprecedented fashion due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AMC — the largest chain in the country, with roughly 630 locations and 11,000 screens — made its announcement Monday night after a raft of other circuits announced closures throughout the day, beginning with Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie chain in the U.S.
AMC is the only one to indicate how long theaters expect to stay closed — raising the prospect that the May and June release calendars could be severely impacted. (Regal simply said “until further notice.”)
While studios have delayed event pics from March to May, including Universal’s F9 and Disney’s Marvel movie Black Widow, films such as Warner Bros’ Wonder Woman 1984, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and musical In the Heights, Disney-Pixar’s Soul and Paramount’s anticipated sequel Top Gun: Maverick are still on the June and July calendar.
Hollywood and the film industry stand to lose many billions at the box office.
If theaters stay closed through May, the deficit globally could be $17 billion, according to analysts.
Meanwhile, sports entertainment powerhouse World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced that WrestleMania 36 won’t take place at a big stadium as planned, but be moved to its Performance Center trainings facility in Orlando due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, led by CEO Vince McMahon, has been understood to be in regular touch with city officials from Tampa, Florida, where the big annual event was due to take place April 5. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had suggested cities cancel large-scale events and gatherings for at least 30 days.
“In coordination with local partners and government officials, WrestleMania and all related events in Tampa Bay will not take place,” WWE said in a statement. “However, WrestleMania will still stream live on Sunday, April 5, at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network and be available on pay-per-view. Only essential personnel will be on the closed set at WWE’s training facility in Orlando, Florida, to produce WrestleMania.”
WrestleMania tends to attract wrestling fans from all over the world, meaning President Trump’s 30-day travel ban for people from Europe, excluding the U.K. and Ireland, was already expected to affect attendance.
Today show co-anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie also announced this morning that an NBC News employee who works on the third hour of the television franchise has tested positive for the coronavirus.
A few hours later, ABC News president James Goldston announced that a Los Angeles-based employee who has been covering the virus outbreak in Seattle has tested positive for the virus.
That’s in addition to the six CBS News employees who have now tested positive, including one, foreign correspondent Seth Doane, who gave a first-hand account of his condition on television on Monday morning.
The infected ABC News employee has “mild” symptoms, Goldston said. “I’m glad to report our colleague is feeling much better already,” he added. “We’re wishing for a full and speedy recovery.”
As a result of the positive test, the network’s Seattle-focused team will have to “self-isolate and monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19.”
The network’s Los Angeles office will temporarily close as well, with the team working remotely for the time being.