Regal Cinemas set to reopen in April, strikes with Warner Bros.

A view of the Regal Loews Cinemas cinema in Times Square in New York City.

Noam Galai | Getty Images

With lockdowns lifted, US Regal Cinemas will reopen after six months of closure.

The Cineworld cinema chain will reopen around 500 locations with limited capacity on April 2nd according to local guidelines. In most cases, participation is limited to 25% to 50%.

Regal Cinemas is showing Warner Bros. ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ film during its first open weekend. The “Mortal Kombat” studio will be in theaters on April 16.

Warner Bros. made the decision to simultaneously release all of its 2021 films in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service. This meant that business had to be renegotiated with each cinema company to ensure that their films played on the big screen.

Cineworld is the latest theater chain to agree to these terms and to enter into a long-term contract with the studio to ensure that after 2021 there will be a longer period between a film’s release in theaters and its availability in the domestic market.

Warner Bros. and Cineworld have signed a multi-year contract starting in 2022 that stipulates that Warner Bros.’s features must be played in theaters for 45 days before they can be switched to streaming platforms or video-on-demand.

In the UK, the contract has a term of 31 days and can be extended to 45 days for films that open at the box office for a sufficiently high gross price.

Regal Cinemas is the second largest theater chain in the United States after AMC Theaters. The company decided to close its cinemas six months ago.

At the time, Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger told CNBC that closing locations in the US and the UK was one way to contain the “bleeding”. He said his company lost less money because it didn’t operate.

With local restrictions easing in places like California and New York, Regal seems more confident that his theaters can flourish and become profitable again.

According to Comscore, the two states together account for 21.5% of total US box office revenue per year.

New York City cinemas were allowed to reopen with limited capacity during the first week of March, and Los Angeles cinemas were allowed to reopen two weeks ago.

New York City accounts for nearly 24% of the total New York state box office, and Los Angeles accounts for approximately 30% of the California box office. These cities have above average ticket prices and population densities, and are hubs of the entertainment industry, making them vital to the industry’s financial well-being.

The reopening of these two cities gives the studios the confidence to release big blockbuster films and the cinema operators the confidence to reopen locations. According to Comscore, around 51% of North American theater was open to the public last weekend.

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