Cineworld plans to reopen all theatres by July


FILE PHOTO: General view of an empty cinema foyer at Cineworld in Hemel Hempstead as the number of coronavirus cases grow around the world, in Hemel Hempstead, Britain, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

(Reuters) – British cinema operator Cineworld Group Plc (CINE.L) said on Tuesday that some of its theatres would reopen in the last week of June and expected all of them to reopen by July with enhanced sanitation procedures across all sites.

The company, which abandoned its $1.65 billion deal to buy Canada’s Cineplex (CGX.TO) last week, expects to reopen in the United States and the UK on July 10.

Shares in the company, which have fallen around 64% so far in the year, were seen opening 10% higher, according to premarket indicators.

Cineworld, which had shut down its theatres due to coronavirus-led restrictions, said it had updated its booking system to ensure social distancing in its auditoriums, along with adapting movie schedules to manage queues and avoid the build-up of crowds in lobbies.

Cineworld, which operates about 9,500 screens globally, with more than 7,000 in the United States, also secured an extra $110 million from lenders and a waiver on loan covenants last month to help it survive lockdowns.

Director Christopher Nolan’s thriller “Tenet” will debut in cinemas on July 31, the first new blockbuster release in months for movie theatres that need fresh films to lure audiences after the closures.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich

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