Cineworld is considering plans to temporarily close all of its UK theatres in the coming weeks.
The Sunday Times reported that the firm, which has sites in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk and Glasgow, intends to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture secretary Oliver Dowden to say that the industry is now “unviable”.
Cineworld later confirmed it was considering the temporary closure of its UK and US cinemas, however a final decision is yet to be made.
The move comes following repeated delays of big-budget films, such as the next James Bond movie, Marvel’s Black Widow and DC’s Wonder Woman 1984.
The premiere of the 007 film No Time To Die has been postponed twice and is now set for release in April 2021.
Cineworld is the world’s second largest cinema operator, and the largest in the UK, where it operates the Cineworld and Picturehouse brands.
The closure of its 128 sites across the country will put up to 5500 jobs at risk.
The firm’s theatres were forced to close their doors amid the coronavirus lockdown earlier this year, but reopened in Scotland in August just as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet hit the big screens.
In September, the company reported a £1.3bn pre-tax loss for the six months to June.
The industry hoped the release of No Time To Die in November would spark a movie-going revival, however on Friday the movie was delayed yet again “in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience”.
In a statement, Cineworld said: “We can confirm we are considering the temporary closure of our UK and US cinemas, but a final decision has not yet been reached.
“Once a decision has been made we will update all staff and customers as soon as we can.”