Cineworld, owner of Regal Cinemas on Cape Cod, files for bankruptcy

The parent company of Regal Cinemas, which operates movie theaters at Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis and Mashpee Commons, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, with plans to revamp its operations by the start. of 2023.

Theater operations, including promotional packages, will continue as normal for the time being, according to an announcement about the filing by the company Cineworld Group posted on its website

“Cineworld expects to operate its global business and theaters as usual without disruption…throughout this process,” the company’s notice reads, and “without disrupting its customers, suppliers, vendors or employees to the greatest extent possible.” “.

“Cineworld is taking steps to position our business for the future,” Cineworld told customers via Twitter on Wednesday. “Our cinemas remain open around the world and we continue to welcome guests to the ‘best place to watch a movie’.”

UK-based Cineworld Group described itself in the announcement as a leading cinema operator in 10 countries, including the US, with 747 locations and 9,139 screens worldwide. How many will remain open next year, however, will depend on the planned restructuring of its debt and its many buildings.

“Cineworld plans to pursue a strategy of real estate optimization in the United States and intends to engage in collaborative discussions with US landlords to improve rental terms for US cinemas with the aim of further positioning the group for growth. long-term,” the published announcement reads.

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Cineworld entered Chapter 11 cases in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas with commitments for a debtor-in-possession financing facility of approximately $1.94 billion from existing lenders, according to the ad. This will help ensure that Cineworld operations “continue in the normal course” while Cineworld reorganizes, he said, with the hope of releasing Chapter 11 in the first quarter of 2023.

Cinema closures and the hiatus in movie schedules related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been a major factor in the company’s financial struggles, according to Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger, who called the past two years of “incredibly difficult times for our business”. ”

Will Cape Cod theaters stay open?

Managers of the two Cape Cod theaters said Thursday they were not authorized to comment on the bankruptcy filing, and Regal Cape Cod Mall manager James Lamere referred all questions about future operations to Regal officials. contacted via social media.

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On Friday morning, Regal Customer Relations emailed further questions to a Media Department email address, but noted: “Regal is open for business as usual! We continue to “Welcoming Regal Unlimited and Regal Crown Club members and our guests to our theaters. We are committed to our guest experience and to being the ‘best place to watch a movie.'” The media department did not answered more on Friday.

On Friday, Regal announced regular movie times at its Hyannis and Mashpee theaters, two of seven locations the company operates in Massachusetts. In addition to continuing to keep theaters open as the Chapter 11 matter unfolds, the online announcement said, “The group plans to continue to honor the terms of all existing customer membership programs, including Regal Unlimited and Regal Crown Club in the United States.”

The restructuring “will allow us to continue executing our strategy to reinvent the most immersive cinematic experiences for our guests through the latest and most advanced screen formats and enhancements to our flagship theaters,” Greidinger said in the statement. ‘announcement.

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The company “will seek to implement a deleveraging operation that will significantly reduce the group’s debt, strengthen its balance sheet and provide the financial strength and flexibility to accelerate and capitalize on Cineworld’s strategy in the motion picture industry,” it said. the press release. but noted, “It is expected that any deleveraging will result in a very significant dilution of existing holdings.”

Cineworld acquired Regal Cinemas in 2018 for $3.6 billion, a mega-merger that reports at the time would create the world’s second largest cinema group after AMC. At the time, Regal operated around three-quarters of Cineworld’s screens worldwide.

In addition to the decline due to lack of customers since the 2020 pandemic shutdown, Cineworld faces an unpaid $1 billion fine for breach of contract from a Canadian judge after, in June 2020, it is out of a deal to acquire Canadian company Cineplex, according to reports.

Other movie theaters on Cape Cod and the islands are independently owned. Bill Hanney, a part-time Brewster resident and owner of Entertainment Cinemas, recently announced a million-plus plan to refurbish his South Dennis cinema and the Falmouth Cinema Pub to include reclining seats and more comfort. food and beverage options.

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Contact Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll at [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @KathiSDCCT.

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