The bad news for the movie business keeps piling up, enough that B. Riley analyst Eric Wold further cut his box office forecasts for both this year and 2021, before suggesting something of a return to old levels in 2022.
But in the meantime, the pandemic pinch that left theaters shut for months and Hollywood studios rescheduling most of their slates into next year or beyond continues to batter the business.
The latest news includes U.K. exhibitor chain Vue saying it will partially close a quarter of its screens during the week. The chain said in a statement that it will close 21 of its 87 theaters Tuesday through Thursday, beginning next week, “to ensure that our business is financially well-placed to withstand the uncertainty ahead.”
The move is similar to one by British competitor Odeon. Cineworld, which also owns the No. 2 U.S. chain Regal, took an even more drastic step, closing all its U.K. and U.S. locations for the next several weeks.
The situation is even more grim for B&B Theatres, the sixth-largest chain in the United States. The company warned that it was a few months away from bankruptcy if it doesn’t receive new content or government aid.
No. 1 U.S. chain AMC issued a similar warning last summer, then restructured its debt, cut a landmark revenue-sharing deal with NBCUniversal, and said it planned to issue 15 million new shares of stock. In response to the Cineworld closures, AMC said last week that it would keep theaters open and strive to open more, depending in part on potential revenues from that NBCU deal.
But the situation is ugly overall for the industry. Cineworld’s closure announcement came soon after MGM pushed back the