Shares in Cineworld plunged greater than 40% after the world’s second-largest cinema chain stated {that a} lack of blockbuster movies has led to lower-than-expected admissions.

The London-listed firm, which has run up debt of virtually $10bn as losses soared in the course of the pandemic, stated regardless of the success of hits corresponding to Prime Gun: Maverick starring Tom Cruise, not sufficient movies have been hitting cinemas.

“Regardless of a gradual restoration of demand since reopening in April 2021, current admission ranges have been under expectations,” Cineworld stated. “These decrease ranges are as a result of a restricted movie slate that’s anticipated to proceed till November 2022 and are anticipated to negatively impression buying and selling and the group’s liquidity place within the close to time period.”

Whereas cinemas are anticipated to learn from movies corresponding to James Cameron’s “Avatar 2” later this 12 months and Marvel releases together with Thor: Love and Thunder, Hollywood has launched fewer movies than in a typical summer time.

That is because of the knock-on impact of filming disruptions by the pandemic, and in addition movies in some mid-budget genres, corresponding to romantic comedies, usually being launched immediately on streaming companies.

The corporate, which operates 9,000 screens in 10 international locations together with the US and the UK, admitted about 95 million moviegoers in 2021, up 75% on the 54 million in 2020 however properly under the 275 million who attended earlier than the Covid disaster.

“The group has been taking proactive steps to make sure it has the stability sheet energy and suppleness to adapt to market circumstances,” the corporate stated.

Cineworld stated it was in discussions with stakeholders over strategic choices to enhance its stability sheet and deleverage its debt pile, which it stated would end result within the “vital dilution” of shareholder stakes within the enterprise.

“The group’s enterprise operations are anticipated to stay unaffected by these efforts and Cineworld expects to proceed to fulfill its ongoing enterprise counterparty obligations,” it stated.

Cineworld’s web debt was $8.9bn on the finish of 2021 in contrast with revenues of $1.8bn.

The group, which operates the Cineworld and Picturehouse chains within the UK and Regal within the US, made a $708m (£537m) loss final 12 months as Covid closures continued to impression cinema operators. Nonetheless, revenues greater than doubled from $852m to $1.8bn, due to the most recent James Bond and Spider-Man movies. In 2020, the corporate reported a file $3bn loss.

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