Cinemark, the No. 3 theatrical exhibitor in the U.S, confirmed Monday that it is currently planning to stay open during the pandemic. The news comes in the wake of Cineworld’s plans to close its Regal movie theaters nationwide on Thursday until further notice, in large part due to New York continuing to be shuttered and the lack of immediate studio marquee product.
Note that Cinemark does not have any movie theaters in New York City, and it has only one location in Rochester, NY, so they’re not greatly impacted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s reluctance to reopen cinemas in the Empire state. Cineworld boss Mooky Greidinger put the blame on Regal’s closing squarely on the shoulders of Cuomo, who has reopened casinos and health clubs but has punished exhibition despite the great lengths the industry has gone to implement safety cleaning and ventilation protocols during COVID-19.
Studio distributors continue to praise Cinemark on how financially responsible they are, and prepped to weather this pandemic (knock on wood). Back in early August, Cinemark executives said on a Q2 earnings call that they have sufficient cash to last “well into 2021” even if theaters remain closed due to COVID-19. COO and CFO Sean Gamble said Cinemark’s cash balance as of July 31 was about $525 million, with a monthly $50M burn, which puts the chain in a more secure position than rivals like AMC and Cineworld, which had already been carrying immense debt before the pandemic.
Currently, Cinemark has roughly 80% of its 332 theatrical chain open. Three of its locations this past weekend were among Tenet‘s top 10 locations including Daly City 20 (San Francisco DMA, #6), Redwood 20 (SF DMA, #7), and Terra Bella Huntington Beach (LA/Orange County DMA, #8). Cinemark reopened 11 locations in California on Friday including sites in Sacramento, Folsom and Chico among others. On Friday, the chain is reopening its Hadley and Springfield, MA, venues as well as three in Michigan including Flint, Taylor and Ypsilanti.
This weekend, the sole theatrical wide release is 101 Studios’ Robert De Niro family comedy War With Grandpa. On October 16 it’s Open Road’s Honest Thief and Freestyle’s 2 Hearts.
“Cinemark’s reopening plan was designed with multiple contingencies in place to ensure we are able to be nimble and react as needed to this ever-changing environment. We do not currently have plans to close our U.S. theatres and are continuing to align with demand, including reducing operating hours and days while we await new studio content to encourage theatrical moviegoing,” said a Cinemark rep.
The rep also added, “Approximately 80 percent of our circuit is open, and we have consistently received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 97 percent of guests expressing satisfaction with Cinemark protecting their health and safety. We will continue to open theatres as governmental restrictions allow and look forward to welcoming even more moviegoers to enjoy this year’s newest films, our Comeback Classics and Private Watch Parties.”