The future of Cineworld is up in the air amid reports that its parent company is set to file for bankrupcy.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the company has hired lawyers from Kirkland & Ellis and consultants from AlixPartners to advise the bankruptcy process.
Cineworld has declined to comment.
The reports cast uncertainty over the future of thousands of workers at its 127 UK cinemas.
Cineworld employs around 28,000 workers globally, with operations in 10 countries.
Here is all you need to know:
Who owns Cineworld?
Cineworld cinemas is owned by Cineworld Group - which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, making is a publically listed company (plc).
It was started in 1995 by Steve Wiener and the first cinema was opened in Stevenage, Hertfordshire in July 1996.
In 2004, the company was acquired by a private equity group called Blackstone for £120m - and that same year The Group acquired the UK and Ireland operations of French cinema company UGC.
Cineworld Group was listed on the LSE in 2007 - becoming a PLC.
Blackstone sold its shareholding in the company in 2010.
Who are the key people at Cineworld?
Alicja Kornasiewicz is the Non-executive Chair, Moshe (Mooky) Greidinger is the Chief Executive and Israel Greidinger is the Deputy Chief Executive.
Who was founder Steve Weiner?
The son of New York trucker, Steve Weiner moved to the UK in 1991.
A cinephile from a young age, he used to sneak into his local cinema to watch movies as a child.
He was sent across the Atlantic by Warner Bros to be the managing director of Warner Bros Europe.
During his time in England he spotted a gap in the market for cinemas in out-of-town leisure parks and in 1995 set up Cineworld.
The company was almost called Planet Movies, but Weiner and his wife settled on Cineworld.
The first Cineworld cinema opened in Stevenage in July 1996.
Weiner had explanded the company to 30 sites when it was bought by private equity giant Blackstone in 2004.
He remained on as the chief executive with Cineworld even after it was purchased, staying in the role until 2013.
Why is Cineworld in trouble?
The reports that Cineworld Group would be filing for bankruptcy “within weeks” comes two days after the company said it is assessing options to shore up its finances.
It blamed a “limited” film slate for weak audience numbers in recent months.
The company, which also owns the Picturehouse chain in the UK and Regal Cinemas in the US, had pinned its hopes on releases such as Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman and Thor: Love And Thunder to aid its recovery from the heavy impact of the pandemic.
However, it told the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday: “Despite a gradual recovery of demand since reopening in April 2021, recent admission levels have been below expectations.
“These lower levels of admissions are due to a limited film slate that is anticipated to continue until November 2022 and are expected to negatively impact trading and the group’s liquidity position in the near term.”
The business, which was saddled with 4.8 billion dollars (£4 billion) of debt at the end of the last financial year, said it was considering restructuring its balance sheet to protect its future.
At the height of the pandemic, Cineworld temporarily shut its UK cinemas and placed 5,500 workers on furlough.