Cineworld, owner of Regal Cinemas, is filing for bankruptcy

(Gray News) - Cineworld Group has started Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S., the company announced in a statement Wednesday morning.

The British company owns American theater company Regal Cinemas, operates in 10 countries with altogether 747 sites and about 9,139 screens globally.

The company said it will undergo restructuring and is expected to negotiate with U.S. landlords at theaters “to pursue a real estate optimisation strategy ... to improve US cinema lease terms in an effort to further position the Group for long-term growth.”

The company said it expects to operate its business and cinemas as usual during the restructuring.

Cineworld has built up about $4.8 billion in net debt, not including lease liabilities, the Associated Press reported.

The theater group is also reportedly considering its bankruptcy options in the other countries in which it operates and will continue to honor its membership programs.

Theaters worldwide have been hurt by sagging sales since the pandemic began. This summer’s $3.3 billion in ticket sales is still running nearly 20% behind the summer of 2019, before the pandemic, as of late August, the data firm Comscore reported.