AMC, Regal Delay Theater Openings

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Cinephiles will have to wait just a little while longer to watch a movie on the big screen. 

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Both AMC Theaters and Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, have delayed the planned openings of their theaters until July 31, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

AMC and Cineworld, which were scheduled to open theaters July 15 and 10 respectively, moved their opening dates within the last week amid accelerating outbreaks in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona, all of which have paused or reversed some reopening measures. 

The move also comes as two of the summer’s most anticipated blockbusters, Christopher Nolan’s spy film ‘Tenet’ and Disney’s live-action remake of ‘Mulan,’ delayed their theatrical debuts from July to August because of the disruption caused by the pandemic. 

In addition, theaters won’t be open in two of moviemaking’s biggest cities: Los Angeles and New York. 

In Los Angeles, which hit a new peak of 2,903 new cases on Sunday. Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered beaches closed for July 4, banned gatherings outside of one’s immediate household, and mandated the closures of many businesses, including gyms, bars and theaters. 

And in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said theaters, along with malls and gyms, would not be reopened in Phase 4, as was originally planned. New York City is still in the second phase of reopening, and while Phase 3 is scheduled to begin on July 6, some measures, like indoor dining, may be delayed, given the alarming number of cases cropping up elsewhere in the country. 

The theater operators are not the only retailers who have chosen to postpone openings. Apple again closed some of its stores in states with heavy outbreaks, and Disney has delayed the opening of its California parks, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, which were scheduled to open on July 17, though it hasn’t announced a change to its July 11 opening date for Disney World in Orlando, Florida. 

But in general, most businesses are following local and state guidelines that dictate when and how businesses can open. “I’ve heard everybody’s version and everybody’s different,” said James Famularo, president of retail leasing at Meridian Capital. “You have some people that are really concerned and some people on the other side who are not very concerned.”

The United Kingdom-based Cineworld also delayed theater openings throughout the U.K. until July 31.