After seven months of darkness, some movie screens in the Seattle area will light up on Friday. Newly revised state coronavirus restrictions are allowing cinemas to reopen at 25% capacity, and while some operators are choosing to remain closed, others are eagerly preparing to resume business — for an audience that may still be deciding whether to return.

“It is a personal choice, and I understand that and I don’t want to minimize the concern that people may have,” said Jeff Brein, managing partner of the local chain Far Away Entertainment. “I think what we can do is what retailers have done, what restaurants have done … and that is to do everything that we can to provide a safe environment.”

Far Away is reopening seven of its eight theaters, including the Admiral in West Seattle and the Varsity in the University District, on Friday. (The eighth, Ocean Shores Cinema, reopened in the summer, as it is in a Phase 3 county.)  

Also reopening Friday are 14 multiplexes in the AMC chain across the state, including Pacific Place in downtown Seattle. And Cinemark announced Tuesday that it will reopen its four theaters in the state Friday, including two at Bellevue’s Lincoln Square and multiplexes in Federal Way and Tacoma.

Most of the Seattle area’s locally owned theaters — including SIFF, Majestic Bay, Ark Lodge, Grand Illusion and Northwest Film Forum — have announced that they will not reopen at this time, citing both safety and business concerns. “It’s going to be extremely challenging at 25%,” Brein acknowledged. And some of the chain multiplexes will remain dark: Regal Cinemas has announced a nationwide closure for the foreseeable future.

But Brein said he’s eager to demonstrate to moviegoers that it’s safe to return to cinemas again, and his theaters are reopening after

Cineworld, the world’s second-biggest cinema operator, said it will temporarily close all its screens in the United States and Britain after studios pulled major releases such as the latest James Bond film.

The Regal cinema owner, which began reopening in July after Covid-19 lockdown restrictions started to ease, employs 37,482 people across 787 venues in the U.S., Britain and central Europe, with 546 sites in America.

The chief executive of Cineworld said he had no choice but to close UK and U.S. sites because the cinema chain was bleeding too much cash to keep them open, and that the operations might resume in “two months, or a bit longer.”

“We had reached the stage where we had no alternative, it was a very, very difficult decision for us, mainly in view of the move we will have to take towards the employees,” CEO Mooky Greidinger told Sky News on Monday.

“From a liquidity point of view, we were bleeding much bigger amounts when we are open than when we were closed.”

The release of the new James Bond movie, “No Time To Die,” was pushed into next year on Friday, crushing hopes for a 2020 industry rebound as rising rates of the coronavirus prompt new restrictions and keep viewers away.

Cineworld’s statement on Monday, confirming leaks over the weekend, spelled out the scale of job losses from its move, which affects thousands of ancillary staff including cleaners and security as well as its own employees.

The entertainment industry has been among the heaviest hit by social distancing and other restrictions, with Walt Disney last week announcing plans to lay off roughly 28,000 employees, mostly at its U.S. theme parks.

Cineworld began reopening in July after virus-related restrictions started to ease, but the further postponement of the Bond film and others

As more and more movies have been pushed to 2021, Regal Cinemas’ parent company Cineworld could be closing all of its theaters in the U.S. and the UK Variety reports that the decision comes after the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, had been delayed until next year due to coronavirus concerns.

The closures are expected to come within a week at the soonest, and the company has already confirmed the closures are currently being discussed. “We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our UK and U.S. cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached,” the Cineworld Cinemas Twitter account revealed. “Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”

Cineworld could be closing 543 Regal Cinema venues, and all of its cinemas across the United Kingdom and Ireland this week. While the closures would be “temporary,” it’s unclear if all the theaters will reopen when it is safe to do so. It’s worth highlighting that Regal is the second biggest domestic theater chian in North America, and Cineworld is the biggest operator of theaters in the United Kingdom. The company plans to write to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden in order to inform them that their business right now is “unviable,” especially as major tentpole movies like No Time to Die and Black Widow have been hit with major delays for the second time.

On Friday, MGM and

The move could put up to 5,500 jobs at risk, if the plans go ahead. Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images
The move could put up to 5,500 jobs at risk, if the plans go ahead. Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Cineworld (CINE.L), Britain’s biggest cinema chain could close all its screens in the UK and Ireland, as soon as next week, following the news that the latest James Bond movie would be delayed until April next year.

The operator plans to write to prime minister Boris Johnson and the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, to say that the industry has become “unviable,” according to reports in the Sunday Times.

The move could put up to 5,500 jobs at risk, if the plans go ahead. It will reportedly ask its staff to accept redundancy, with possible incentives to rejoin the company when theatres reopen — likely to be next year.

Like many others in the leisure and hospitality industries, Cineworld was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen many blockbuster movies delayed as filming was postponed.

On Friday, MGM and Britain’s Eon Productions announced that “No Time To Die,” which was first scheduled for release in April 2020, would be pushed back for the second time.

Film industry bosses hoped the James Bond movie, which was due to hit UK cinemas on 12 November would boost cinema-goers and revive the sector.

Other blockbusters such as Marvel’s “Black Widow” and “West Side Story” have also been delayed until 2021.

Cineworld, which has 128 cinemas in the UK, started reopening its theatres in July after lockdown measure were eased. At the time, Cineworld Group Plc said that 561 of its 778 global sites had reopened, with 200 cinemas in the US, six in the UK and 11 in Israel still closed.

Cineworld Action Group, which is run by and represents Cineworld employees, tweeted: “The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is