Jobs at risk as Cineworld closes all 128 sites across the UK including Ely

PUBLISHED: 14:01 05 October 2020

FLASHBACK to happier days when Ely Cineworld marked its first birthday after inviting film fans to celebrate an incredible first year. PHOTO: Jamie Gray

FLASHBACK to happier days when Ely Cineworld marked its first birthday after inviting film fans to celebrate an incredible first year. PHOTO: Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray

Just over three years after 200 guests turned up for the red carpet opening of Cineworld Ely, the lights are about to be dimmed until next year.

Ely Cineworld marked its first birthday  after inviting film fans to celebrate an incredible first year. PHOTO: Jamie GrayEly Cineworld marked its first birthday after inviting film fans to celebrate an incredible first year. PHOTO: Jamie Gray

Closure from this Thursday of the six-screen cinema – the city’s first major cinema since the closure of the Rex Theatre – comes in the wake of the release date of the new Bond movie once more being postponed. Up to 30 people work at Cineworld Ely.

Cinema chain Cineworld is to close all its UK sites in the coming weeks.

As first reported in The Sunday Times, bosses have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to tell them that cinema has become “unviable” as studios keep putting back blockbuster releases.

The closure of its 128 sites across the country will put up to 5,500 jobs at risk.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, officially opened the new Cineworld in Ely  PHOTO: Mike RouseMayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, officially opened the new Cineworld in Ely PHOTO: Mike Rouse

In July, the Government promised a package of more than £1.5 billion to help the arts and culture industries forced to shut down earlier this year because of the pandemic.

Cineworld had reopened most of its cinemas in July when lockdown measures were eased across the country.

Daniel Craig’s final outing as spy James Bond will not hit big screens until next April, it was announced on Friday.

No Time To Die was originally scheduled for release in April 2020, but was first pushed back to November because of the pandemic.

A statement on the film’s official Twitter account said: “We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing NO TIME TO DIE next year.”

Mooky Greidinger, the boss of Cineworld, said there was “no alternative” to the closure of his cinemas in both the UK and America.

Delays in the release of the Bond film was, he says, the final straw.

“We are like a grocery shop with no food,” he said. “We had to take this decision”

Greidinger argued that the delays to the release of new films was a mistake:

“People are saying to us that they feel safe in the cinema, so I guess it is a wrong decision by the studios to move the movies in such a way,” he said.

Mike Clancy, head of the Prospect trade union, is fearful the closures could be the first of many unless the Government intervenes with more support.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Wisbech Standard. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Wisbech Standard