James Bond shut down Cineworld Group‘s (LSE: CINE) (OTC: CNWGY) Regal Cinema chain in October. King Kong and Godzilla are teaming up to get the country’s second-largest multiplex operator to open back up again next week.
It’s been nearly six months since Cineworld closed its 543 Regal theaters in the U.S. as well as all of its movie houses in the U.K. and Ireland. MGM’s decision at the time to push the theatrical release of James Bond’s No Time to Die into 2021 was the final straw — in a vodka martini that was shaken, not stirred — for Cineworld. Now it plans to open select theaters in time to screen Godzilla vs. Kong on April 2. It will ramp up its reopening schedule to have more theaters open by the time Mortal Kombat hits the big screen two weeks later.
Seeing its largest rival fire up its digital film projectors and popcorn makers again may seem like bad news for AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC), but it’s actually the opposite. AMC needs competing multiplex operators open for movie studios to justify releasing films in cinemas instead of directly to consumers through a growing number of streaming services. Cineworld’s restart is good news for all exhibitors, and it’s not the only thing going their way.