Cinemark Joins Other Chains in Closing U.S. Theaters

Cinemark Holdings is temporarily closing all 345 of its U.S. theaters in response to the spread of the coronavirus.
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Cinemark Holdings (CNK) - Get Report said it was temporarily closing its 345 U.S. theaters, effective Wednesday, in response to the spread of the coronavirus.

Shares of the Plano, Texas, theater chain at last check were off 15% to $5.92.

"Through these absolutely unprecedented and evolving times, one thing will not change, and that is Cinemark’s dedication to its team members and moviegoers," Chief Executive Mark Zoradi said in a statement. 

"The decision to close our U.S. theatres was incredibly tough, but we know it is the right thing to do as global coronavirus concerns continue to escalate." 

Several state and local governments have been closing theaters and other locations in an attempt to curb the spread of the respiratory disease. 

In addition to Cinemark, AMC Theaters  (AMC) - Get Report and Regal Cinemas are closing their theaters. The closures followed a White House news conference telling Americans to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. 

AMC, which has about 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens worldwide, said its closures would begin Tuesday and last six to 12 weeks. Its shares were down 9.9% to $2.24.

"We are ever so disappointed for our movie-going guests and for our employee teams," the Leawood, Kan., chain's CEO, Adam Aron, said in a statement. "Still, the health and well being of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else."

Regal said it would close all its locations indefinitely. The Knoxville, Tenn., company operates 542 theaters with a total of 7,155 screens.

"At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theaters," Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Cineworld, Regal's British parent, said in a statement. "We value our movie-loving customers and have no doubt we will be serving them again as soon as possible."

Cineworld U.S. shares were up 14% at US$0.46 at last check.

Theater chains had initially attempted to combat the spread of the disease by cutting seating capacity in half.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered movie theaters in their respective cities to close in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

At least nine other states followed suit, according to Variety, and the rest are expected to close by the end of the week.