Regal Cinemas declares bankruptcy; is streaming taking over?


Alex Erhart photographed by Isabella Kneeshaw.

Alex Ehrhart, Staff Writer

Seeing a movie with friends is a renowned weekend favorite: the smell of buttery popcorn, the fizzling soda and the laughter surrounding you. But that all came to a screeching halt just under three years ago when COVID mandates shut down theaters across the country. Despite having been reopened for months, theaters are struggling to compensate – quite literally – for the time that both they and the production industry lost. 

Regal Cinemas – more accurately the company that owns it, Cineworld – is $8.9 billion in debt and has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Chapter 11 allows Regal to submit a plan of reorganization to the court and receive debtor-in-possession-financing, meaning they can borrow money or take out loans. For Regal, this means they will have access to $1.9 billion to maintain operations and pay employees’ salaries for the foreseeable future. Even with this amount of money in reserve, some locations are being shut down, including local theater Regal Sherwood Stadium-10. 

Cineworld recently released a statement addressing the reasons behind this filing.

“The pandemic was an incredibly difficult time for our business, with the enforced closure of cinemas and huge disruption to film schedules that has led us to this point,” Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld CEO, wrote.

 However, the pandemic may not be the only cause of this noticeable customer shortage. When people were stuck at home, major streaming services such as Netflix, Disney Plus, and Prime Video all ramped up their advertisement spending. Many people discovered that watching movies from home was more convenient for them. Not only is it significantly cheaper, but there is a wider selection of movies, and showtime is whenever one desires. One can have as many people watching as they can invite over, and oftentimes movies come to streaming services not long after widespread theater release. I think that we can expect streaming services to continue to grow, and eventually be the mainstream way to watch movies. 

With that said, nothing will quite replace the fun and memorable experiences associated with the big screen, and many great movies will be coming to theaters in the near future –those names include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar 2: Way of the Water and Halloween Ends. Regal Cinemas Bridgeport, Regal Wilsonville and Regal Tigard are all still open, so take your family and friends, order some popcorn and enjoy the show!