Cineworld shuts cinemas temporarily from this week
Cineworld has closed its UK cinemas temporarily – here's what you need to know about what's happening to booked tickets, memberships and more.
The cinema chain closed its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse venues from Thursday 8 October – which could put up to 5,500 jobs at risk. It's also closing its cinemas in the United States.
Cineworld started reopening its cinemas from the end of July after shutting during the coronavirus lockdown, but closed sites again after major studios started to delay their biggest film releases. It hasn't said when it plans to reopen venues.
And while the biggest concern is the effect on jobs, consumers may have paid for Cineworld memberships, or bought tickets or gift cards – so we've outlined what we know so far about what will happen.
What if I've booked tickets or bought a membership?
If you have a Cineworld Unlimited membership and pay for it monthly, Cineworld has confirmed it won't take any payments from you while its cinemas are closed.
However, there's a chance you may still have a payment taken for this month if the direct debit request has already been issued. If this happens, your account will be credited with this amount (meaning your monthly payment will be less when cinemas reopen), or you can ask to be refunded directly by calling 0333 003 3444 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd already paid upfront for an annual membership, your membership will be extended by the amount of time cinemas are closed for.
If you'd booked a ticket for a film showing that now won't go ahead, you should be refunded automatically if you booked online. If you made your booking in a cinema, you can request a refund by sending a picture of your unused tickets to email@example.com. (You can also email this address if you don't receive your refund for an online booking.)
What about gift cards?
Cineworld offers a range of gift cards, gift boxes and vouchers which can be spent on tickets or, in some cases, food and drink at the cinema.
The different types of gift card have different expiry periods – for example, its standard gift card is valid for two years after it's bought or topped up – so you'll need to check the expiry date.
While you've few formal rights if you buy a gift card and something goes wrong, Cineworld has said that if your gift card expires while its cinemas are closed, you'll be able to get in touch once venues reopen and ask for your gift card to be replaced.
What does Cineworld say?
Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: "This is not a decision we made lightly, and we did everything in our power to support safe and sustainable reopenings in all of our markets."
He added: "Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time."