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With Hollywood on hold, Regal closes theaters

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The parent company of Regal Cinemas announced Monday that it is closing U.S. theaters for the next few months due to a lack of new blockbuster movies. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

Regal Cinemas, America’s second largest movie theater chain, announced Monday morning that it was temporarily closing its theaters starting Oct. 8 due to a lack of audience-attracting movies coming any time soon.

The closure includes Regal’s two Delaware theaters, one in north Wilmington at the Brandywine Town Center and one in Glasgow at Peoples Plaza. A few dozen employees will likely be affected at those theaters, as part of more than 40,000 U.S. employees who will be affected at closures of 663 theaters.

The decision by U.K.-based Regal parent company Cineworld comes after some potential blockbuster films have failed to produce large crowds. The Christopher Nolan-directed “Tenet” was anticipated as the industry’s first big test case, but so far has only brought in about $300 million worldwide despite costing an estimated $400 million in production and marketing.

That performance led other studios to delay their releases until next year, like MGM/Universal pushing the new James Bond film from November to April 2021. Other major films, like Disney’s live action “Mulan” remake, have been pushed to streaming services rather than waiting for a big-screen debut.

Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Cineworld, said in a Sky News interview that the delay in the opening of such films meant it “didn’t have the goods” for movie-goers.

“It’s the wrong decision from the studios to move the movies in such a way,” Greidinger said.

The chief executive did not specify when the company’s theaters may reopen, saying it “might be in two months, it might be even a little bit longer.”

It remains to be seen what pressure Regal’s closure may put on its major competitor, AMC Theatres, which has a Dover location. Meanwhile, the nation’s third largest theater company, Cinemark, which has two New Castle County locations, said Monday that it had no plans on closing locations.

By Jacob Owens

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