Cineworld, which owns the Regal cinema and Picturehouse chains, is understood to be preparing to announce plans to close all its 127 theatres in the UK as soon as Monday. It is also closing all its 536 Regal cinemas in the US. Cineworld employed 37,000 people globally before the pandemic, with 5,500 in the UK.

Its cinema in Dublin, its only venue in Ireland, had to close due to tightened Covid-19 restrictions two weeks ago, and it seems unlikely it will reopen. The planned closures will leave Cineworld with 123 cinemas across eastern Europe and Israel, where it hopes to keep venues open as those countries are benefitting from lighter coronavirus restrictions and local movies.

The premiere of the new 007 flick, No Time To Die, has been twice postponed, from April when cinemas were shuttered to 12 November, and now to April 2021, in a big blow to the cinema industry.