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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

British movie exhibitor Cineworld, the parent company to Regal Cinemas, said on Monday that it would temporarily close all 663 of its movie theaters in the United States and the U.K.

Why it matters: Theater chains have struggled to survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Some analysts have argued that the pandemic could become the death knell to the theater industry.

Details: In a statement, the company blamed the ongoing delays of major movie releases by studios and the closure of theaters in New York and other major U.S. markets.

  • The closures will impact approximately 40,000 employees across the U.S.
  • Regal operates more than 536 theaters in 42 states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam.

Between the lines: Regal decided to close those locations after MGM announced it was pushing back the release date for the second time of the latest James Bond film to April 2021.

  • The theater chain had reopened in parts of the U.S. and Europe over the summer, but about 200 of its locations have been shut down since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • "This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support a safe and sustainable reopening in the U.S," Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said in a press statement.

The big picture: Theater chains, including Regal, have tried to lure consumers back with a joint industry set of safety protocols over the summer, but surveys show that consumers are still wary of visiting theaters until there's a vaccine.

  • Without being able to operate at full capacity, movie studios have been delaying the release of their films to theaters in fear that they may not make enough in ticket sales.

Worth noting: Greidinger did not specify when the U.S. and U.K. theaters might reopen, but the company is leaving about 100 locations open in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania.

  • He did not say what this meant for the 40,000 employees in the U.S. and 5,000 in the U.K.

Go deeper: Movie theaters face uncertain future as country reopens

Go deeper

Hollywood engulfed by streaming drama

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer. Photo: David Livingston/GC Images

The release of the entire Warner Bros. 2021 film slate on HBO Max at the same time that the films debut in theaters has sent Hollywood into a frenzy.

Why it matters: Creators feel misled about its release strategy and worry that a simultaneous release could mean less cash for them.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker