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Cinema Shares Sink Even As Market Rallies; Hit By James Bond Delay, Cineworld/Regal Theater Closings

Exhibition shares headed south Monday amidst a broader market rally as continued delays in big studio releases pushed a major circuit to close its doors, again, and raised a new round of jitters over the long term health of the sector.

Regal parent, U.K. chain Cineworld, which is traded in London, saw its share plunge by 50% (it was down 33% at latest check). Stateside, AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest exhibitor, had dropped 10% in late morning trade; Cinemark nearly 14%; Marcus almost 8% and in-theater ad agency National CineMedia more than 9%.  Imax, with a boost from its strong operations China, was steadier but still down about 2.5%.

MGM on Friday announced to push the next James Bond movie No Time To Die out of November and into Easter 2021. Theaters have repeatedly warned that high-profile product was key to drawing an audience during COVID and were looking to Bond as an inflection point. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger bluntly laid blame as well on  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s seemingly intractable — and for the industry inexplicable — resistance to opening movie theaters in the state even as other venues and businesses resume operations. 

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Cinemark has said it has funds to see it through a prolonged shutdown. AMC Entertainment has cash to see it into next year — or for about six months, according to S&P which trimmed the company’s credit rating Friday. It’s expensive run theaters — particularly in the COVID era -and the cost benefit analysis becomes increasingly unclear with major markets shut and new releases scarce.

Imax was holding steadier. The company is listed on the U.S. and Hong Hong exchanges and a large operation in China,, which has back in business, is helping it buck the trend. Imax announced this morning a record-breaking $13 million opening weekend of the National Day Golden Week holiday in China, a historically strong box office period that runs from October 1 to 8 this year. The figure marks IMAX’s best-ever opening weekend for the National Holiday, up 25% over last year despite a 75% capacity limitation across the country.

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