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Cineworld Plans To Exit 23 More Leases Amid Bankruptcy Process


Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, is looking to get out of 23 more movie theater leases as part of its ongoing bankruptcy process. 

The London-based firm added the properties to a growing list of U.S. leases it is asking the court to help it exit that now totals 69 locations, CoStar reported.

The latest string of lease rejections, projected to save Cineworld $15M annually, were proposed as part of its request for a 90-day extension on its bankruptcy case. It said the extension would give it more time to evaluate its real estate and negotiate terms with landlords. 

The additional 23 leases are in 12 states including five in New York, three in California, three in Colorado and three in Florida. Cineworld told the court it is looking to walk away from these leases by the end of January. It is also aiming to sell some of its surplus property.

Cineworld is the second-largest theater operator in the world with 747 locations in 10 countries. Its U.S. portfolio comprises 511 theaters.

In September, Cineworld filed a Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas. The theater operator has more than $5B in debt, plus $1B it is expected to pay in damages for backing out of a merger with Cineplex

As part of the bankruptcy process process, Cineworld has made plans to "optimize" its U.S. strategy by negotiating better lease terms with its U.S. landlord, Cineworld said in a September release about the filing. 

Weeks after Cineworld's initial bankruptcy filing, Cineplex revived the possibility of a merger, reportedly talking with its lenders about acquiring Cineworld's Regal Entertainment Group