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Cineworld Group plc
TypePublic limited company
IndustryEntertainment, movies
Founded1995; 26 years ago (1995)
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Key people
RevenueDecrease £852.3 million (2020)[1]
Decrease £(2,257.7) million (2020)[1]
Decrease £(2,651.5) million (2020)[1]

Cineworld Group is a British cinema company based in London, England. It is the world's second-largest cinema chain (after AMC Theatres), with 9,518 screens across 790 sites[2] in 10 countries:[3] Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, United Kingdom and the United States.[2][4] The group's primary brands are Cineworld and Picturehouse in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Cinema City in Eastern and Central Europe, Yes Planet in Israel, and Regal Cinemas in the United States.

As of March 2018, Cineworld was the leading cinema operator in the UK by box office market share (based on revenue).[5] It operated, at that time, 99 cinemas and over 1,017 screens,[6] including Cineworld Dublin—Ireland's single largest multiplex by screens and customer base.[7] Cineworld Glasgow Renfrew Street is the tallest cinema in the world and the busiest, by customer base, in the UK.[8] It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

On 8 October 2020, Cineworld indefinitely closed its cinemas in the UK, Ireland, and United States, citing the delay of tentpole films due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cinema. CEO Mooky Greidinger said the cinemas would reopen when more film releases were scheduled.


Cineworld in Glasgow, Scotland. The world's tallest cinema
Cineworld at Dalton Park, near Seaham, England
Cineworld in Middlesbrough, England
Cineworld Telford

Cineworld was founded by Steve Wiener in 1995.[9][10] The first Cineworld theatre opened in Stevenage, Hertfordshire in July 1996.[11] A second theatre opened in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in December 1996 and the third opened in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, in 1998.[12] In 2004, Cineworld was acquired by Blackstone private equity group for £120m.[9] The following year, Cineworld acquired the UK and Ireland operations of French cinema company UGC.[13]

In December 2012, Cineworld acquired the Picturehouse Cinema chain, adding 21 cinemas to its portfolio, including The Little Theatre in Bath, Brighton's Duke of York's cinema, the Cameo, Edinburgh, the Phoenix in Oxford and the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton.[14]

The Blackstone Group, which had invested in Cineworld when it was privately owned, sold its entire remaining 20% shareholding in November 2010.[15] In August 2013, The Guardian revealed that Cineworld employs 80% of its 4,300 staff on zero hour contracts.[16] In October 2013, the Chester location was closed due to the landowner wanting to develop the land into a supermarket.[17]

In 2014, Cineworld's Picturehouse chain was subject to industrial action owing to its refusal to pay the London living wage to its staff. The workforce attracted the support of Eric Cantona.[18] On 27 February 2014, Cineworld completed the takeover of Cinema City International N.V..[19] As of March 2015, the Greidinger family (who owned a controlling 54% stake in Cinema City International) held a controlling bloc as the largest shareholders in the enlarged company.[20]

In May 2014, Mooky Greidinger joined the board of directors as CEO, having previously been CEO of Cinema City International.[21]

In 2015, Picturehouse unveiled their new West End flagship site, ‘Picturehouse Central’,[22] a 1,000 seat, seven-screen cinema on Shaftesbury Avenue near Piccadilly Circus in central London. In August 2016 Cineworld acquired six cinemas[23] from Empire Cinemas, including the Empire Theatre in London's West End, and 4 other locations in Basildon, Poole, Bromley and Hemel Hempstead. Empire Newcastle was also acquired by Cineworld the following year.[24]

In November 2017, Cineworld began merger talks with the US cinema chain Regal Cinemas.[25] On 5 December, it was officially announced that Cineworld would buy Regal for US$3.6 billion (£2.7 billion), creating the world's second largest cinema group. It would also allow Cineworld access to the US market, the largest in the world.[26][27] The acquisition was completed in 2018.[4]

In March 2019, Cineworld and Eagle Pictures invested in Spyglass Media Group.[28]

On 16 December 2019, Cineworld announced its proposed acquisition of Cineplex Entertainment—Canada's largest cinema chain—for approximately US$2.1 billion. Cineworld planned to integrate its operations with Regal to achieve cost and revenue synergies, and maintain the Cineplex branding for the Canadian operations This would have made it North America's largest cinema chain.[29] The deal was approved by shareholders in February 2020.[30] On 12 June 2020, however, Cineworld would terminate the purchase agreement due to alleged "material adverse effect and breaches" by Cineplex. The company subsequently sued Cineworld over the aborted purchase.[31][32]

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

On 17 March 2020, Cineworld and all other cinema companies in the UK temporarily closed all their UK cinemas due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[33] Some 800 staff at Cineworld Group PLC wrote to Chief Executive Moshe Greidinger requesting their jobs back after many were made redundant "with immediate effect". Employees with over three years of service were told they would be retained with 40% of their salary or average pay. The letter said the move would leave many of the affected unable to afford essentials such as housing and food.[34][35] In late May 2020, Cineworld announced they planned to reopen all its UK cinemas in July.[36] On 14 August 2020, they announced a new reopening schedule, in which their Welsh cinemas would open on 14 August, whereas their Irish, Scottish and Jersey screens would open on 26 August. Their English cinemas had been open since 31 July.[37]

In May 2020, Alicja Kornasiewicz became chair, having been a non-executive director since May 2015.[21]

On 5 October 2020, Cineworld announced the indefinite re-closure of all owned cinemas in the UK, Ireland, and United States from 8 October, citing the delay of major tentpole Hollywood films due to the wider impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cinema, and its continued inability to reopen cinemas in the key U.S. market of New York (which CEO Mooky Greidinger cited as having resulted in the delays). The decision came three days after the next James Bond film No Time to Die was delayed from November 2020 to 2 April 2021. The company stated that its decision would affect 45,000 workers, 5,500 of them in the UK, and 20,000 in the U.S.[38][39][40] Later that month, they hired FTI Consulting, Houlihan Lokey, and AlixPartners to help refinance the company's $8 billion debt.[41]

Greidinger stated that Cineworld would reopen the affected cinemas once there was a "solid lineup of releases" ahead. He also stated that its Central European operations would remain active on a case-by-case basis, as they have a stronger dependency on domestic productions than Hollywood productions.[38]


Across the Cineworld estate there are seven different ways in which their customers can watch a movie: 2D, 3D, 4DX,[42] Superscreen,[43] IMAX, VIP, and ScreenX. Prices are set according to the format the customer chooses, and not the movie they choose. As of April 2018, across the European estate there are 38 4DX screens, 35 IMAX screens and 12 VIP auditoriums.[44] Out of 45 cinemas[45] in the world that are fitted with IMAX with Laser projection systems, two are in the UK, both belonging to Cineworld, located in Leicester Square[46] and Sheffield.[47] In April 2018, IMAX And Cineworld Group signed an agreement to install 55 new IMAX with Laser experience in Cineworld and Regal IMAX locations.[48]

In 2012, Cineworld began a trial of a premium service, The Screening Rooms. Located next to the Cheltenham cinema, The Screening Rooms offers considerably larger, leather seating, premium food, and 'table' service.[49][50]

Cineworld was the only cinema chain in the United Kingdom to operate a 'strict no food and drink policy'[51] on items that have been bought elsewhere,[50] but in November 2012, the food policy was changed and now states that "neither alcohol nor hot food may be brought onto the premises".[52] In early 2014, Cineworld introduced an allocated seating system, starting as a trial in selected sites including Wembley and rolling out to all their cinemas by the summer.[53] The move was controversial and a Twitter campaign was created against this policy.[54] Cineworld have responded to the criticism stating that it gives customers peace of mind along with other benefits.[55]

Cineworld continues to expand and enhance its estate, with an extensive ongoing build and refurbishment programme. In 2017, the company opened nine new cinema locations with a total of 109 screens; four of which were in the UK and five in the rest of Europe. A further 75 screens were scheduled to open in 2018 in addition.[56] Throughout 2018, the company opened 13 new locations with 108 screens in total, six in the United States, six in the United Kingdom and one in Romania.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results for year ended 31 December 2020" (PDF). Cineworld. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b Kemp, Kenny (16 January 2019). "Cineworld enjoys record audience figures as blockbusters pull in public". businessInsider. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Cineworld to buy Regal cinemas in blockbuster deal". BBC.
  4. ^ a b c Tartaglione, Nancy (2 April 2019). "Cineworld Chief Mooky Greidinger On Regal, Windows, 'The Irishman' & Unlimited International Potential – CinemaCon Q&A". Deadline. Retrieved 20 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Cineworld reports surge in revenue thanks to films like Beauty and the Beast and Dunkirk". The Independent. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Cineworld Group plc Annual Report and Accounts 2017" (PDF). Cineworld PLC.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "€24 million for largest cinema in Ireland". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Cineworld and its founder: nine things you did not know". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Cineworld founder Steve Wiener leaves to 'enjoy fruits' of cinema operator's success". 20 November 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  10. ^ UKBRE9AJ0K320131120 "Cineworld founder and CEO Steve Wiener to leave after 18 years" Check |url= value (help). Reuters. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  11. ^ Geoffrey Macnab (12 April 2018). Stairways to Heaven: Rebuilding the British Film Industry. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 278–279. ISBN 978-1-78673-409-9.
  12. ^ Allen Eyles; Keith Skone (2002). Cinemas of Hertfordshire. Univ of Hertfordshire Press. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-9542189-0-4.
  13. ^ "Cineworld clear to buy exhib UGC". Variety. 28 October 2005. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  14. ^ "Cineworld buys Picturehouse". The Guardian. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Blackstone closes the curtains on its interests in Cineworld". The Times. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  16. ^ Simon Neville. "Curzon and Everyman cinema staff on zero-hours contracts | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Chester's only remaining cinema to close next month". Chester Chronicle. 22 September 2013. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  18. ^ Spanier, Gideon. "Backers pile pay pressure on Cineworld over Brixton Ritzy row". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 June 2014.
  19. ^ "UK group to merge with Cinema City International". Polskie Radio. Polskie Radio. 10 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014. Under the terms of the deal, Cineworld will purchase about 100 multiplexes from CCI for 503 million pounds. However, CCI will maintain a 24.9 percent stake in the combined business.
  20. ^ "Israel's Mooky Greidinger Agrees To Sell Cinema City Chain of Movie Theatres To UK Based Cineworld For $923 Million in Cash And Stock". Jewish Business News. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Our Board". Cineworld. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  22. ^ "Picturehouse to launch new West End cinema". Screen Daily.
  23. ^ "Cineworld completes $124m deal for five Empire cinemas". Screen Daily.
  24. ^ "IT'S A WRAP". Empire Cinemas.
  25. ^ McNary, Dave. "Regal Entertainment Group in Merger Talks With Cineworld". Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  26. ^ "Leading film markets worldwide in 2017, by gross box office revenue (in billions U.S. dollars)". Statista.
  27. ^ "Cineworld to buy Regal cinemas in blockbuster deal". BBC. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  28. ^ Kay, Jeremy (13 March 2019). "Cineworld, Eagle Pictures strategic partners in Spyglass Media Group venture". Screen. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  29. ^ "Regal Owner Cineworld to Acquire Canada's Cineplex for $2.1 Billion". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Cineworld's $2.8B takeover of Cineplex may lead to job losses". Toronto Star. 10 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2020.
  31. ^ Cineworld says it's terminating $2.8B takeover of Canada's Cineplex Social Sharing U.K. cinema operator cites 'certain breaches' of acquisition deal with theatre chain
  32. ^ "Canada's Cineplex Sues Regal Cinemas Owner Cineworld Over Aborted Acquisition Deal". Variety. Retrieved 19 July 2020.
  33. ^ "Coronavirus: Odeon, Vue and Cineworld shut UK cinemas". BBC News. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  34. ^ "Protests at UK cinemas' treatment of staff after coronavirus shutdown". 23 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  35. ^ "Cineworld Staff Demand Jobs Back Following Covid-19 Layoffs". Morning Star. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  36. ^ Sweney, Mark (28 May 2020). "Cineworld plans to reopen all UK cinemas in July". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  37. ^ "Cineworld are Reopening 31st July | Cineworld cinemas". Retrieved 18 August 2020.
  38. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy (5 October 2020). "Cineworld Boss Mooky Greidinger Says Decision To Close U.S. & UK Cinemas Was Spurred By NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's "Inflexibility"". Deadline. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  39. ^ Hancock, Alice (5 October 2020). "Cineworld shares plunge as chain shuts all UK and US screens". Financial Times. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  40. ^ "Cineworld to close all sites in UK and Ireland". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  41. ^ "Cineworld screens AlixPartners for talks on $8bn debt pile". Sky News. Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  42. ^ Sharp, Jasper (21 June 2012). "4DX: Here come the feelies". Sight & Sound Magazine. British Film Institute. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  43. ^ "Cineworld unveils new Superscreen in time for Star Wars: The Last Jedi". Coventry Live.
  44. ^ "Cineworld Group plc Annual Report and Accounts 2017" (PDF). Cineworld PLC.[permanent dead link]
  45. ^ "LF Examiner - Search". LF Examiner. Cinergetics LLC. Archived from the original on 11 February 2005. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  46. ^ "IMAX launches laser projection system in UK – and it looks spectacular". What Hi-Fi.
  47. ^ "VIDEO: Cineworld Sheffield to introduce new IMAX laser technology". The Star.
  48. ^ "IMAX And Cineworld Group Sign Agreement To Install New IMAX® With Laser Experience In 55 Cineworld And Regal IMAX Locations". Business Insider.
  49. ^ "Sneak peek at Cheltenham cinema's luxury Screening Rooms". This is Gloucestershire. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
  50. ^ a b Sethi, Anita (20 February 2008). "My mission to beat the great cinema food rip-off". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  51. ^ "Cineworld Cinemas – FAQ". Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. Can I bring in my own food and drink? – Cineworld have a strict no food and drink policy.
  52. ^ "Cineworld Cinemas – FAQ". Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012. 2.2 Alcohol and Food Policy: Neither alcohol nor hot food may be brought onto the premises. Only hot food bought on the premises may be consumed on the premises. Alcohol may only be purchased and consumed in Cineworld licensed bar areas or in licensed screens and licensing laws will be strictly enforced.
  53. ^ "Allocated seating is now available at your local Cineworld". Cineworld. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  54. ^ "Allocated Seats Cine". Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  55. ^ "Allocated seating coming soon to Cineworld". Cineworld. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  56. ^ "Cineworld Group plc Annual Report and Accounts 2017" (PDF). Cineworld PLC.[permanent dead link]

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