The Cineworld cinema chain is set to close all Ireland and UK sites. The Cineworld Dublin cinema on Parnell Street in Dublin city centre had already been closed due to Government restrictions in the county but will nowgo into an indefinite closure along with all UK and many US based venues owned by the company. In the UK, Cineworld is understood to have writen to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden describing the exhibition sector as “unviable” due to studios delaying tentpole releases such as the latest James Bond film: a result of enforced local closures and audiences steering clear of cinemas during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cineworld closures will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk in the UK and Ireland.
Cineworld has not given any further information on when its cinemas may reopen, however they could remain closed until 2021. Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger has said, “We did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets.”
The UK-based Cineworld Action Group, formed in March in response to staff mistreatment following the initial closure of cinemas as a result of Covid-19, have criticised the company’s lack of communication with staff throughout the pandemic, including consistently receiving news about their jobs via the press and social media.
The Parnell Street cinema location, which has changed hands between cinema chains on several occasions since first opening in 1995, became Dublin’s first IMAX cinema location in 1998. Due to its size and IMAX screen it has frequently been a venue for film premieres and the Dublin International Film Festival, while films from Poland, India and other countries screened in the cinema frequently sell out and hold firm in the Irish box office rankings, as Dublin-based international film fans take the opportunity to reconnect with their local culture. While its potentially permanent loss would be sad for the city, the priority concern is unquestionably the staff who have been left in limbo.
Film In Dublin spoke to a member of staff from the Dublin branch to receive their account of communications with the company over the last six months and their position following the confirmed closure. The staff member agreed to interview on condition of anonymity.