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Cineworld may close US, UK theaters

LONDON (AP) — Cinema chain Cineworld said Sunday it is considering closing all its movie theaters in Britain and the United States, after the postponement of the new James Bond film left a big hole in schedules.

Cineworld Group PLC owns 543 Regal cinemas in the U.S. and 128 Cineworld venues in the U.K. and Ireland.

It said it was “considering the temporary closure of our U.K. and U.S. cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached.”

“Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”

The statement came after the Sunday Times reported that Cineworld’s U.K. and Ireland theaters will shut indefinitely in the coming weeks, putting up to 5,500 people out of work.

The newspaper and other outlets reported that Cineworld plans to write to U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden saying cinema has become “unviable” because studios are postponing blockbuster releases because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff said they had not been informed or consulted about closures.

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