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Regal Cinemas is closing all its US theaters indefinitely. Here's how the company grew to be the second-largest theater chain in the country.

  • Regal is closing its more than 500 US theaters indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of new releases to show.
  • The closure is expected to affect as many as 45,000 jobs in the US and UK.
  • See how the chain was founded in Knoxville, Tennesee, and grew to become the second-largest in the world.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With coronavirus cases spiking in some areas of the country and few films to show, Regal Cinemas announced that it will indefinitely close all 536 of its US theaters.

The closure will affect 45,000 jobs, with 40,000 of those in the US. Right now there are no clear plans for a reopening timeline. It "might be in two months, it might even a little bit longer," CEO Mooky Greidinger told The New York Times.

About 100 locations will remain open in Eastern and Central Europe, though the company makes the bulk of its revenue in the US and UK.

Regal officially opened its door in 1989. In years since, through mergers and acquisitions, it grew to become the second-largest theater chain in the world. 

Entrepreneur Mike Campbell started Regal Cinemas in 1989. It was headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, in an old warehouse, according to a contemporaneous Associated Press article.

Source: AP

The company's first theater was in Florida, where Campbell renovated an already existing theater with new carpets, concessions, and screens, more than doubling its size.

Regal theaters grew, especially in the suburbs, and were known to be relatively upscale compared to competitors, with cafes selling cappuccinos and cookies inside. By 1995, Regal was the ninth-largest movie theatre chain in the US.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, AP

In 2001, with nearly 4,000 screens across 328 theaters, Regal became one of several theater chains to declare bankruptcy.

Source: The New York Times

In 2002, Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz became the majority owner in Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theaters, and Edwards Theaters, combining them all under the new parent corporation Regal Entertainment Group.

Source: The New York Times

In 2008, Regal Entertainment acquired Consolidated Theatres, a movie chain with locations in mid-Atlantic states. The Department of Justice required Regal to divest some theaters in areas where it would otherwise have a monopoly.

Regal was one of many companies to downsize in 2011, laying off many managers and projectionists to better compete with Netflix and Redbox.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

European chain Cineworld bought Regal in 2017 for $3.6 billion, making it the second-largest movie theater chain in the world.

Source: CNN

The coronavirus pandemic hit Regal and all movie theaters hard, forcing Regal to close al its theaters indefinitely beginning March 17.

Source: Business Insider, Regal

Theaters began reopening throughout the summer according to local regulations, with social distancing measures keeping attendance low.

Regal announced that beginning Thursday, it would close all 536 US theaters and 127 UK theaters.

In the press release, CEO Mooky Greidinger cited the lack of blockbuster releases that could potentially sustain theaters. Last week, MGM pushed back the release of the James Bond film "No Time to Die" from November until next April.

Source: Business Insider

Spiking COVID-19 cases in New York City have reintroduced stricter measures for indoor gatherings. "Despite our work, positive feedback from our customers, and the fact that there has been no evidence to date linking any COVID cases with cinemas, we have not been given a route to reopen in New York," Greidinger said.

Source: Cinemark

The closures will affect 45,000 jobs in the US and UK, and Cinemark's share prices dropped by more than a third since the announcement.

Source: Business Insider

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