Want to catch up on “Women Talking”, “The Fabelmans” or “Avatar: The Way of Water” before the Oscars?
Your list of places to go just got a little shorter.
Six Regal Cinemas theaters in Southland are set to close, according to a new filing that the chain’s parent company, Cineworld Group, filed on Tuesday as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.
Impacted theaters include Sherman Oaks Galleria 16 in Los Angeles; Metro Point in Costa Mesa; Yorba Linda and IMAX in Yorba Linda; Escondido Stadium 16 and IMAX in Escondido; Hemet Cinema 12 in Hemet; and Parkway Plaza Stadium 18 and IMAX in El Cajon.
The Southern California locations are among 39 that make up a list of “locations to be rejected” in the Cineworld process. The forecast is that the bans begin in February.
Theaters in Berkeley and Las Vegas will also be affected.
Regal stores in Calabasas, Irvine, Anaheim Hills and San Francisco have already closed, according to Insider, which first noticed the shutdowns.
Cineworld, the second largest theater operator in the world, filed for bankruptcy last September.
According to its latest lawsuit, the company is seeking an order authorizing it to reject unexpired property leases, as well as “abandon certain equipment, fixtures, furniture or other personal property” located there.
Cineworld reported $10.35 billion in net debt at the end of June.
The company said it has secured $1.94 billion in new funding to keep it going as it reorganizes under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.
Cineworld’s legal representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a difficult time for cinemas, which – like many other players in the events industry – have struggled with lost revenue and absent patrons, as well as changes to release schedules for profitable blockbusters. The rise of streaming has also transformed where and how consumers watch movies.
Cineworld’s US theaters are “a significant contributing factor to its current financial challenges,” the company wrote in its Tuesday filing. “Primarily due to the impact of deferred rent payments, debtors estimate that average monthly rent obligations per theater have increased by nearly 30% year-to-date through July 2022 compared to the full year of 2019.”
This isn’t Regal’s first rodeo. After a period of overdevelopment in the 1990s, the chain declared bankruptcy in 2001, only to emerge a year later, reorganized.
Cineworld, a British company, later agreed to buy Regal in 2017 in a takeover deal that valued the network at $3.6 billion.