The pandemic forced Cineworld’s CEO Mooky Greidinger to face the same hurricane of challenges that rocked his rivals in the big exhibitions, AMC and Cinemark. Cineworld lost more than $3 billion in 2020 as audiences stayed home and studios pulled back from releasing their big new movies. At the end of 2020, Greidinger decided that the best course would be to close down all his Regal Cinemas locations in the U.S. and wait it out until better times.
Greidinger explained that the situation was untenable, like trying to operate a supermarket without any produce. AMC took the opposite approach, keeping all their theatres open despite a meager slate of movies and very low attendance. The publicity helped AMC to emerge as a paragon of virtue, an intrepid survivor betting against the odds. Investors took note, and recast AMC as an investment opportunity, rocketing their wildly depressed stock into the stratosphere. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Greidinger comments on AMC’s wild ride, and the timeline he expects for Cineworld and Regal to see profitability again.