Empire Cinemas goes into administration, six cinemas closing immediately

Empire Cinemas
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Six Empire Cinemas multiplexes shut immediately, as the search begins to find a buyer for the chain, that’s now in administration.

Some rubbish news to round the week off, with the news that the Empire Cinemas chain has gone into administration. 150 jobs are being lost straight away by the looks of things, and six of the 14 cinemas in the chain are closed straight away.

Let’s start with those. The sites at Bishop’s Storford, Catterick Garrison, Sunderland, Swindon, Walthamstow and Wigan have all closed immediately. Advanced tickets bought for shows at those cinemas will be refunded.

Furthermore, plans to reopen the Empire in Sutton Coldfield have been shuttered. And it leaves Empire’s sites in Birmingham, Clydebank, High Wycombe, Ipswich, Sutton, Bath and Cheltenham still trading, with a buyer being sought for them.

The group CEO of Empire Cinemas, Justin Ribbons, told Deadline that “As a consequence of COVID-19, we found ourselves in a position where we were mandated by Government to close down our cinema chain in its entirety for protracted periods in 2020 and 2021, leaving us with a high fixed cost base and no income”.

He added that cinema attendances had not returned to previous levels, and that “the decision to appoint administrators has not been taken lightly but will give us the best chance to protect the viable parts of the business and secure as many jobs as possible”.

This comes at a time too when Cineworld is also filing for administration in the UK, as it seeks to restructure its business.

As ever, our best wishes go to those whose job has gone or is under threat today. We’ve had the privilege to put on events with the Empire in Birmingham, and it’s a delightful team there. Hopefully the remnants of the chain can be saved.

Sky News

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