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Regal Cinemas To Reopen Its Theaters In April

Regal Cinemas will reopen its theaters in the U.S. in April, six months after they closedamid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The reopening plans were announced by parent company Cineworld Group on Tuesday. Cineworld intends to reopen its theaters in the U.K. in May. Regal has more than 7,000 movie screens in 536 theaters in the United States.

The theaters' reopening will coincide with a couple of big-ticket movie openings: Godzilla vs. Kong on April 2 and Mortal Kombat on April 16.

"With capacity restrictions expanding to 50% or more across most U.S. states, we will be able to operate profitably in our biggest markets," Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld's chief executive officer, said in a statement. "We will also be monitoring developments closely in the U.K. and across Europe as we set to gradually reopen across the world in line with local government guidance."

Cineworld also announced a multiyear deal with Warner Bros. Pictures Group in the U.S. that will guarantee a period of exclusivity for movies in theaters before being released more widely, starting in 2022.

But in 2021, Warner Bros.' new movie releases — including Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat — will also be available to stream on HBO Max.

Other companies, including Comcast NBCUniversal and Disney, opted last year to release films directly to online streaming as theaters were closed.

Movie theater revenues were battered by the pandemic. A number of big movies have been delayed from 2020 or early 2021 openings, including Dune, Jurassic World: Dominion and the next James Bond installment, No Time to Die.

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Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.