Cineworld has confirmed it is temporarily suspending operations at all of its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Thursday (8 October).

Blaming an “increasingly challenging theatrical landscape” due to the coronavirus pandemic, 536 Regal theatres in the US are also affected.

With major US markets such as New York remaining closed, and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films.

Without these new releases, Cineworld said it could not provide audiences in its prime UK and US markets the breadth of commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to cinemas.

The closures will impact approximately 45,000 employees.

Cineworld said it would continue to monitor the situation, and could resume operations when studios bring a pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.

Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, said: “This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets - including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.

“We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was, Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time, when key markets have more concrete guidance on their reopening status and, in turn, studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen.”