Cineworld is in discussions with its landlords and Hollywood film studios about how it can survive the current coronavirus crisis. Like many entertainment businesses, the world's second-largest cinema chain was forced to close all its operations last month following government-decreed lockdowns around the world.
The cinema chain is talking to its banks about its "ongoing liquidity requirements", reports The Guardian (opens in new tab). The firm, which has 787 cinemas across 10 countries, has deferred salaries and bonuses for senior staff, and suspended dividends for shareholders, in an effort to shore up the business and lessen the impact of its cinema closures.
In a note to investors, it described the current situation as "impossible to imagine a few months ago”. It added: “This is a painful but necessary process as before the onslaught of the Covid-19 virus, we were excited and confident about the group’s future prospects.”
Cineworld has already warned that closing its sites for three months could mean the company breaches its covenants and cannot pay its debts.
The firm caused controversy when it initially laid off staff following cinema closures last month. It subsequently furloughed staff under the UK government's new job retention scheme, under which they will receive 80 per cent of their wages.
It also publicly criticised Hollywood studio Universal Pictures for releasing Trolls World Tour on streaming services and pay-TV platforms, rather than delay its cinematic release as is the case with the next James Bond film, No Time to Die.