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Regal Cinemas To Reopen 500 Theaters After 'Godzilla vs. Kong' Buoys Rival


After the biggest movie theater chain in the U.S. had its first major success since the coronavirus pandemic began, its biggest competitor declared its readiness to begin reopening.

Regal Cinemas will open at least 500 of its U.S. theaters this spring, Chain Store Age reports. Cineworld, the chain's owner, shut down all of its U.S. and U.K. locations in early October once No Time To Die, the latest James Bond film, was delayed from its November release date. The company operates 7,211 Regal theaters across 42 states.

Despite continued indoor capacity restrictions in many states, Regal's confidence may have been boosted by the performance of Warner Bros. blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong, which pulled in $48.5M from its first five days in domestic release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film's performance shocked analysts, who had projected $32M domestically over the film's opening weekend, especially considering the fact that it was released simultaneously on Warner Bros.' streaming service, HBO Max. Godzilla vs. Kong even outperformed its predecessor in the monster movie franchise, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which made just under $48M in its opening weekend in 2019, THR reports.

AMC Entertainment, the only movie theater operator with more U.S. locations than Regal, has been open in virtually every jurisdiction it is allowed to be and was the primary beneficiary of Godzilla vs. Kong's big opening. In upgrading AMC's stock price target from $7 to $13 per share, B. Riley Securities senior analyst Eric Wold said that the monster movie's success "destroys lingering concerns around theatrical window importance and demonstrates a solid path to resurgence," THR reports.

Cineworld also has received recent financial lifelines, such as a new $213M convertible bond and an anticipated $200M tax refund based on a provision of the first federal stimulus package, the CARES Act of 2020, Chain Store Age reports. The operator announced that it has agreed to screen Warner Bros. movies simultaneously with their streaming release.