Cineworld has revealed eye watering losses for 2020 after many of its cinemas closed for lengthy periods during the Covid pandemic.
The troubled cinema chain has seen its share price plummet over the past 12 months as restrictions were put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Despite the recorded financial losses, Cineworld bosses remain hopeful of a recovery due to the Covid vaccine rollout programme and pent-up demand to see blockbusters on the big screen.
When did Cineworld close its UK cinemas?
Lockdowns enforced the temporary closure of cinemas with the respiratory virus said to thrive in enclosed spaces by scientific and medical experts.
Cineworld decided to close its doors at the start of October in the interest of public health ahead of a second wave of infections and at a time when many studios were delaying new releases.
The company employed 5,500 people in the UK in October 2020.
How much did Cineworld lose in 2020?
Cineworld reported losses of $3 billion (£2.2b) for 2020 from a pre-tax profit of £155m in 2019.
The company saw its revenues plummet by 80%, admissions tumble from £200m to £40m in the same time period and shares plunge as much as 14% at one stage.
Shares had fought back from October lows when the company confirmed its 5,500 staff in the UK were at risk of redundancy due to its plan to hibernate sites.
Why is Cineworld’s CEO still getting a bonus?
Cineworld has been suffering for a long time under the restraints imposed by the Covid pandemic yet its shareholders approved an executive bonus plan in January 2021.
The proposals could see top executives pocket millions, with its chief executive officer Mooky Greidinger in line to net upto £65m in three years’ time if certain targets are met.
When will Cineworld reopen its cinemas?
Prime minister Boris Johnson’s plan to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions has four key dates, which began with the return of pupils to schools on 8 March.
Easing of lockdown rules continues on 29 March, when people can meet in groups of six outside, and the reopening of shops on 12 April before all legal limits are lifted on 21 June.
Under the roadmap out of a third national lockdown in England, cinemas and theatres are not expected to open again until 17 May at the earliest.
It is at this point that Cineworld expects to reopen its cinemas doors to the public.
What does the future hold for Cineworld?
Despite the massive losses of 2020, Cineworld bosses are positive about its future with a wave of new releases and pent-up demand to return to cinemas once reopened.
Mr Greidinger said he wants to “leave 2020 behind” and expects a particularly strong summer.
“I think we will have a mix of new and old films in May, but by summer we should just have a really strong slate of new movies,” he said.
“It will be different from when we reopened last year because of the vaccine, that puts us in a much better position.
“Also, last year the only big release we really had was Tenet and this year, with Bond, the new Top Gun and Matrix films, that will get people fired up again for the cinema experience.”
He added: “I never imagined a time that we would see the closure of our entire cinema estate, nor that varying restrictions would remain in place for so long as we continue to navigate our way through this crisis.”
Cineworld expects to gradually recover to 95% of 2019 admissions in 2023.
Third Bridge senior analyst Harry Barnick said: “The cinema chain will go into cash preservation mode: labour cuts, rent negotiations and postponed refurbishments can all be expected.”