Regal Cinemas will reopen for "Godzilla vs. Kong" on April 2 as part of a new deal with Warner Bros.
"We have long-awaited this moment when we can welcome audiences back to our Regal theaters and restore our essential role within the communities we serve," Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger said in a statement. Cineworld owns Regal, which is the second-largest theater chain in the United States after AMC Theatres.
Regal is expected to open roughly 500 of its 536 venues. Cineworld has also signed a multiyear agreement beginning in 2022 that will allow its theaters to screen Warner Bros. films in the United States on the opening date. Those titles will play at Regal theaters for a 45-day exclusive window. That doesn't apply to Warner releases this year, which are streaming simultaneously on HBO Max when they open in theaters.
Regal did not return requests for information on which of its eight Long Island venues might reopen. The chain has cinemas in Lynbrook, Farmingdale, Westbury, Deer Park, East Hampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Ronkonkoma. After being shuttered for seven months, Regal had opened several of its Long Island venues in October, only to close them again 20 days later.
"Godzilla vs. Kong" is the 36th feature in the enduring "Godzilla" franchise and the third in a newly rebooted series that began in 2014. It is also the 12th in the "King Kong" franchise and a sequel to 2017’s well-reviewed "Kong: Skull Island." Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Kyle Chandler and Shun Oguri are some of the stars featured in the crossover film.
The reopening of Regal comes as excellent news for the film industry. Theaters spent the past 12 months of the pandemic either completely dark or showing only a handful of new films to small, socially distanced audiences. Movie studios, meanwhile, put many of their big blockbusters on hold and shifted their other titles to streaming services and video on demand. Total theatrical box office for 2020 was $2 billion, an 81% drop from $11.3 billion the previous year, according to figures at BoxOfficeMojo.
Regal's announcement comes on the same day as Disney announced plans to make some of its big films available via streaming this summer, a move that suggests the film industry is still proceeding with caution as theaters reopen.
The video game adaptation "Mortal Kombat" will also play in Regal theaters starting April 16.