Cinemas in Brighton were today preparing to close their doors because the release of films that were expected to be box office hits had been delayed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new James Bond film No Time To Die was the latest to be postponed along with another sequel to Fast And Furious.
Cineworld said on Monday (5 October) that it would be closing more than 120 venues across the country as part of a “hibernation”.
These included the Brighton Marina Cineworld as well the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, at Preston Circus, and Duke’s at Komedia, in Gardner Street, in the North Laine.
The shutdown is due to start this evening (Thursday 8 October) but the rival Odeon chain hopes to ride out the economic storm.
About a quarter of Odeon cinema sites across the country are expected to switch to what was described as “weekend opening” – in practice, three to four days a week instead of seven.
The Brighton Odeon, however, at the bottom of West Street, is expected to remain a seven-day operation.
Cinema screenings resumed in July after the easing of covid-19 lockdown rules.
There were high hopes that the new 007 film would help bring back the crowds, even with social distancing measures in place.
The film was due for release in the spring but this was delayed until the autumn. Now the opening date has been put back to next spring.
The release of the latest Fast And Furious sequel has also been put back and Disney is to stream its remake of Mulan.
The moves come as a number of other titles are released on Netflix or other platforms or channels.
Cineworld, the world’s second-biggest cinema operator, announced a half-year loss of £1.3 billion last month and the latest blow puts 5,500 jobs at risk.
The company is understood to be writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to say that the industry had become unviable.