Regal Cinemas, Hunt Valley. Photo credit: Hunt Valley Towne Centre website.

Thirteen multiplex cinemas in Maryland will close for the foreseeable future after Regal Cinemas decided to suspend operations at all of its theaters in the United States and United Kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cineworld, the parent of Regal Entertainment Group and Regal Cinemas, announced this week that it would temporarily halt operation at 536 U. S. theaters and 127 U. K. theaters starting Thursday, including Regal cinemas in Hunt Valley, Columbia, and Bel Air. A reopening date has not been set, but company officials have indicated the closings likely will last for two months or more.

Regal is the second-largest movie theater chain in the United States, after AMC Theatres. Cineworld, based in Great Britain, cited financial losses during the pandemic and lack of new movies coming to theaters this fall as reasons for the closings. Its announcement came three days after MGM Studios said it would postpone the release of its James Bond film, “No Time To Die,” from November 2020 to April of 2021.

“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,” said Cineworld CEO Moshe “Mooky” Greidinger, in a statement.

“Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time when key markets have more concrete guidance,” and “studios are able to bring their pipeline of major releases back to the big screen,” he said.

In Maryland, movie theaters were required to close last March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and were allowed to reopen with limited capacity in some areas starting in early September.

Movies playing at Regal Hunt Valley this week ranged from new or relatively recently released films such as Crazy Rich Asians; Tenet; Unhinged; The Last Shift, and Infidel to classics such as Bridesmaids; Despicable Me; Magic Mike; Hocus Pocus, and The Empire Strikes Back.

Other Regal locations closing in Maryland are in Bowie; Frederick; Gambrills; Germantown; Hagerstown; Hyattsville; Laurel; Rockville; Salisbury, and Silver Spring.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.