Breaking News
More () »

Regal theaters on Elmwood Avenue, Transit Road to close

According to a film industry expert, Regal's parent company Cineworld could have filed for bankruptcy as a negotiating tactic with landlords.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The second-biggest movie theater chain in the country is closing 39 locations.

This comes after Business Insider reports Regal's parent company Cineworld has filed for bankruptcy.

It includes two locations in Western New York: the one on Transit in Williamsville and another on Elmwood in North Buffalo.

"It's definitely sad to see because there were so many memories and so many good times here," Ryan Collingwood said.

Added Farhana Lipi: "We're going to miss this place. It's close by and it's a good theater."

Both still have showtimes through at least January 26, though it's not clear when they'll have their final day of business.

2 On Your Side reached out to Regal but hasn't heard back. 

"I feel like now I might be home because the far out drive is going to be way too long unless we're in the area doing something as an activity with somebody," Emily Collingwood said. 

Regal had closed a dozen other theaters prior to filing for bankruptcy. Business Insider reports the company just can't seem to rebound from the pandemic.

"I understand that because of the pandemic, obviously all the cinema theaters, they have struggled a lot. But now new movies are coming," Raqib Mahmud said.

They are, but not fast enough. Movie productions were halted for 18 months, and it has created yet another supply chain issue.

"It's really hit Regal hard because they mostly show Hollywood blockbusters. I mean, even 'Top Gun: Maverick,' which was one of the top hits this year, was filmed before the pandemic," said Ray Barker, program director at the North Park Theatre. 

Business Insider reports filing for bankruptcy will allow Cineworld to get out of leases without major penalties. That's a savings of $22 million a year. 

But some film industry experts say this could all be a negotiating tactic especially when most locations in the filings are in bigger markets.  

"Although temporary closure is imminent, I don't know that these locations will be permanently closed," Barker said. "One suspects they've made a decision that the cost of these locations that they're renting is too much in comparison with what they're bringing in so they're signaling to the landlords that either they lower the leases or they'll vacate."

He says it could work in Buffalo, but probably not in places like New York City where the real estate market is extremely valuable. 

Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. box office was taking in more than $11 billion. That's down to about $7.4 billion. 

Still, there are those who want to be at a theater for an experience much different than the one on your couch. 

"No doubt, watching the movie in theaters is really enjoyable and it's awesome. And I'm really sorry that if they really shut down this place, we'll be missing that," Mahmud said. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out