Box Office Bomb: Silver Screens Go Dark in Pandemic

October 13, 2020

It’s one bad scene after another for movie theaters, with no red carpets or fancy premieres in sight.

Regal Cinemas, the second largest theater chain in the country, temporarily closed 536 locations on Oct. 8, without a set date to reopen. The decision came days after the National Association of Theatre Owners and major film creators — including Martin Scorsese, James Cameron and Ron Howard — requested a federal bailout for the exhibition industry, saying nearly 70 percent of small and mid-sized movie theater companies will be forced to file for bankruptcy or close permanently.

Patrick Collins is a distressed retail and bankruptcy attorney at Farrell Fritz who represents landlords, some of whom have shopping centers with movie theaters. He said they are struggling to figure out what to do with those tenants.

“When you’ve got a dark movie theater that probably hasn’t paid rent for some time, and you’re being told for this particular chain, Regal, that they’re going to stay closed or close again, you wonder how long could this possibly go on, and if they’re ever coming back,” he said. “Are they ever going to reopen? And what should I do if I’m a landlord?

“Assuming I have the right to evict them — which also in New York is almost impossible at the moment — do I do that, or do I stick with them? I think that’s what’s on landlords’ minds at the moment.”

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  • Related Practice Areas: Bankruptcy & Restructuring
  • Featured Attorneys: Patrick T. Collins
  • Publications: Commercial Observer