London’s Cineworld and Picturehouse venues are set to remain open for the time being after the boss of beleaguered cinema chain said he still wants the firm to be “the best place to watch a movie” despite filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US.
The company, which operates over a dozen different venues in London including the Cineworld Leicester Square and the Piccadilly Circus Picturehouse, said it expects to operate cinemas as usual and would continue to pay wages to staff as it began chapter 11 proceedings in a Texas courtroom in a bid to bring down its eyewatering levels of debt.
Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said: “This has been a challenging period for Cineworld due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and its lagging and continuing disruption to film schedules.
“As we navigate this Chapter 11 process to help position Cineworld for long-term growth, we remain committed to our strategy to be ‘The Best Place to Watch a Movie’.”
The firm, which is the world’s second largest cinema chain with almost 10,000 screens globally, posted revenue of $1.5 billion (£1.4 billion) in the first half of 2022, and made a pre-tax loss of $294 million, down from the $515 million loss it made in the previous year.
The London based cinema operator, which has built up $4.8 billion of debt, said only two days ago that it had been hit by slower than expected ticket sales since the lifting of Covid restrictions. Cineworld said not enough blockbusters such as Top Gun: Maverick, starring Tom Cruise, had been released recently to draw audiences back into its sites.