Cineworld, a worldwide chain of movie theaters owned by Israeli brothers Moshe “Mooky” and Israel Greidinger, is looking at bankruptcy. The once superpower of the entertainment industry was devastated by the worldwide Covid pandemic and the shutdowns that it caused.
For two years movie theaters suffered some of the worst of the crisis as they could not offer a service considered to be vital. And even when restrictions were lessened and theaters could open, countless people avoided such venues for fear of infection. What is more, the major movie studios used the Covid shutdowns as an opportunity for their live streaming services. And now, with major movies available online within months of their theatrical releases, moviegoers are shunning theaters like Cineworld and waiting to see the movies in the comfort of their own homes.
Cineworld, and others, just can’t compete with a whole family – or even a 20 people party – getting to watch movies at home with modern home theater tech on big screen HDTVs for less than the price of two movie tickets.
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And recent years hit Cineworld especially hard, maybe worse than any other movie theater business. While it was booming at the end of 2019, the company now has $9 billion in debt. And its stocks traded on the London FTSE exchange have plummeted more than 80%
Moshe Greidinger acknowledged, recently commenting, “We were an unprecedented success story, I don’t think there are many Israeli companies that have become the second largest cinema chain in the world. But two and a half years ago, our life’s work collapsed. Because of the pandemic, for the past two and a half years, I have been fighting every day to save what we have built. I hope we will succeed, but it’s not certain.”
All this comes after things were looking so good for Cineworld just before the Coronavirus pandemic hit. Back then the company expanded. In December of 2019, Cineworld Group acquired Canadian network Cineplex for $2.15 billion.
But there may still be some hope for Cineworld. The company has not declared bankruptcy yet and anything could happen.