In 2020, Cineworld’s profits plummeted by 80 per cent compared to 2019. Admissions fell from 275 million to 54.4 million as the chain fell into a loss compared to a pre-tax profit of 212.3 million US dollars (£155.2 million) in 2019.
The group hopes the vaccine will allow the chain a recovery and said in a statement they are hoping for a “strong pent-up demand” when their cinemas reopen.
This is due to happen from 2 April in the US, 17 May in the UK and for other parts of the world, also in May.
Chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: “For all of us across the world, this has been an incredibly challenging year.”
The chain continued to warn of “material uncertainties” and say its ability to continue was a growing concern, especially given the potential for more disruption to both cinema opening and release of films
Mook Greidinger added: “At Cineworld, I never imagined a time that we would see the closure of our entire cinema estate, nor that varying restrictions would remain in place for so long as we continue to navigate our way through this crisis.”
Many of 767 of the company’s cinemas have endured long closures since the start of the pandemic, last March.
Cineworld has 127 sites in the UK. These include the Picturehouse chain, making the company the country’s largest cinema operator.
The group was keen to underline the “more positive” outlook ahead, especially due to easing of restrictions and “vaccination programmes under way across our territories.”
The group also separately announced on Thursday that it hopes to raise more money, another 213 million US dollars (£155.8 million), through bond fundraising.
Meanwhile, the company has announced an agreement with Warner Bros to show its new releases exclusively for a set number of days both in the US and UK, from next year.
It is hoped that this deal will help reestabilsh a new agreement with studios, which have increasingly turned to steaming services as a way of releasing new films.