Cineworld attempted to flog leftover Pick N Mix stock to staff before they learned about the chain’s plan to mothball its 127 UK theatres, an employee has claimed.
The Cineworld employee says were offered to buy the excess sweets, which the cinema chain worried it would not sell between now and Thursday – when its theatres will close.
It comes after the company, the UK’s largest cinema chain and the second largest int he world, announced plans to temporary close all of its UK and Ireland cinemas.
The move, which came just days after film bosses pulled the upcoming theatre release of the new James Bond movie No Time To Die, puts around 5,500 jobs at risk, according to reports.
The group will also temporarily close all of its 536 Regal theatres in the US, putting a further 45,000 jobs at risk in America.
One Cineworld worker, employed at the Renfield Street cinema, in Glasgow, claimed workers found out about job losses from the news.
Cineworld attempted to flog leftover Pick N Mix stock to staff before they learned about the chain’s plan to mothball its 127 UK theatres, an employee has claimed
The Cineworld employee says were offered to buy the excess sweets (library image), which the cinema chain worried it would not sell between now and Thursday – when its theatres will close
The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: ‘The signs have been there and they’ve even tried to sell off their Pick n Mix stock to us.
‘They wanted to sell it to us by October 8, which now makes a lot of sense.
‘The atmosphere is pretty tough and you could cut the tension with a knife.’
The employee added staff had been sent a round-robin email on Monday apologising for the leak – after some took to social media to express their fury, claiming they had found out online about the closure plans before bosses had informed them.
‘We got a pretty poor email on Monday just apologising for the leak and that we had found out that way.
‘We had been told there was a chance our hours would be getting reduced and a lot of it would depend on the Bond film.
‘It is clear they must have known it was happening and they didn’t tell us first.
‘One of the issues is the end to the furlough scheme and they even mentioned that in their email to us.’
Cineworld confirmed the move in a statement on Monday, following reports in Sunday Times about the proposed plans.
In the statement the company blamed studios for being reluctant to release ‘their pipeline of new films’.
On Friday it was announced that the release of the new James Bond movie No Time to Die would be delayed until April 2021.
The latest film in the James Bond series ‘No Time To Die’, which had been scheduled to debut in theatres on November 11, has now been postponed until April 2021
The announcement was made just weeks before it was about to be released.
The highly-anticipated film had already been postponement from its original release date in April due to coronavirus.
But bosses were reportedly spooked over the performance of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet at the box office.
Odeon will shut a QUARTER of its 120 venues during week as Cineworld confirms plans to close sites in UK and US
The UK’s biggest cinema chains have today announced the closure of more than 150 sites, laying bare the toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
On a devastating day for the industry, Cineworld confirmed plans to temporarily close all 127 of its sites across the UK, affecting up to 5,500 employees.
Some 45,000 staff will be affected as the cinema giant mothballs all 600 of its theatres on both sides of the Atlantic.
The swingeing closures come after the latest James Bond film – No Time to Die – delayed its release again due to the lockdown.
Just hours later, Odeon announced that from Friday, around a quarter of its 120 venues will move to a weekend-only model.
Meanwhile the boss of Vue said it was ‘being forced to look at all options’ to survive, including temporary closures, adding chains were dealt a ‘body blow’ by the delay of Bond’s latest outing.
The boss of Cineworld said the company would have been ‘like a grocery shop with no food’ after film studios delayed several major releases.
The chain will close 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse sites in the UK this Thursday – sending shares down by as much as 57% as markets opened in London.
Boris Johnson acknowledged there would be ‘tough times ahead’ in the jobs market following the announcement but encouraged people to go to the movies.
Last week, the release of the highly-anticipated Fast and Furious sequel F9 was also delayed again, while Disney announced last month that its live-action version of Mulan instead debut on its streaming service Disney Plus instead of a theatrical release.
A Cineworld spokesperson said: ‘Cineworld confirms that it will be temporarily suspending operations at all of its 536 Regal theatres in the US and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theatres in the UK from Thursday October 8.
‘As major US markets, mainly New York, remained closed and without guidance on reopening timing, studios have been reluctant to release their pipeline of new films.
‘In turn, without these new releases, Cineworld cannot provide customers in both the US and the UK – the company’s primary markets – with the breadth of strong commercial films necessary for them to consider coming back to theatres against the backdrop of COVID-19.’
MailOnline has contacted representatives of Cineworld for a comment on the Pick n Mix claims.
The claims come after Cineworld staff this week slammed the company amid claims employees first found out online about the firm’s plans to shut all 128 of its UK and Ireland cinemas.
One member took to social media site Twitter to describe the situation as ‘appalling’.
One Twitter user said: ‘This is going out to all my fellow Cineworld colleagues up and down the country, wishing you the best in these early hours with the news of the closures.
‘Been with Cineworld for 12 years, to find out I’ve not got a job via Twitter; once again; is damn appalling.’
Another, whose husband works for Cineworld, said: ‘Just checking Twitter before bed … oh looks like we just found out via Twitter that my husbands place of work is closing, thanks for telling your employees Cineworld, finding out on Twitter as usual.
‘I guess we’ll wait to hear from them at some point in the future.’
A group on Twitter named the Cineworld Action Group also took to the social media site to comment on the reports.
The group, which was set up in March and describes itself as an action group formed of and ran by Cineworld employees around the UK, tweeted last night: ‘The front page of tomorrow’s Times is announcing that Cineworld is planning to close all of its cinemas across the country as soon as this week putting all of our jobs at immediate risk.
‘There has been no consultation with staff whatsoever.’
In a follow-up tweet, the group, which has around 1,200 followers, said: ‘We have found out vital information about our jobs from the media throughout the pandemic.
‘Workers have been left out of discussions that should’ve included our voices.
‘However, in this case it goes beyond belief. To find out you may no longer have a job from the media is awful.’
Meanwhile, a Cineworld staff member, who did not want to be named, said they feel ‘betrayed’.
The employee said: ‘None of us have been told a single thing yet, so me and my work colleagues are sort of in panic mode right now, wondering what’s going to happen to our jobs, especially this close to Christmas.’
Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’.
Cineworld lost months of trade in the UK during the full Covid lockdown – which meant cinemas were forced to close from the end of March until July.
Cinemas were allowed to reopen from July 4, as part of a loosening of restrictions, with Cineworld reopening its theatres from July 10.
Alongside the closure plans, bosses of Cineworld Group PLC are reportedly preparing to write to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and culture minister Oliver Dowden to say the industry has become ‘unviable’
Fast & Furious sequel F9 is pushed back AGAIN to May 2021
The Fast And The Furious series will not be seeing the checkered flag anytime soon.
The release of the highly-anticipated sequel F9 has been delayed again as it is now set for release on May 28, 2021 during Memorial Day weekend it was announced by Universal on Friday.
Back in March it was reported that the film was delayed to April 3 2021 according to The Hollywood Reporter.
However the most recent change was made hours after James Bond film No Time to Die delayed its release from November to April 2, 2021.
Universal is distributing the film internationally.
The Fast and Furious movies are always big earners at the domestic and international box office and the absence of F9 will impact the 2020 box office in a major way. The past two films have made over $1 billion.
Just a month earlier the full trailer had been unveiled.
The clip showed Vin Diesel’s character Dominic Toretto facing off again his brother, Jakob, played by John Cena, with epic car chases and fights across London – and appearances by Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.
But depsite reopening, Cineworld reported a £1.3 billion loss for the first half of the year because of the Covid-19 crisis.
Problems have been further compounded by the lack of blockbuster film releases this year – with studios also concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on viewer numbers.
Union Bectu, which represents staff in the cinema sector, urged filmmakers to think ‘carefully’ about the impact delayed releases could have on the industry.
A spokesperson said: ‘The delay in the release of the Bond film, along with the other delayed releases, has plunged cinema into crisis.’
Philippa Childs, head of Bectu, a union for the arts, later added: ‘Confirmation that Cineworld is mothballing all its cinemas will be devastating for everyone who works there.
‘Cinemas are currently able to operate safely so this decision is entirely the result of distributors choosing to delay the release of blockbusters in the hope of making extra money further down the line.
‘This is short-sighted in the extreme.’
Cineworld chief executive Mooky Greidinger said: ‘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 – including meeting, and often exceeding, local health and safety guidelines in our theatres and working constructively with regulators and industry bodies to restore public confidence in our industry.
‘We are especially grateful for and proud of the hard work our employees put in to adapt our theatres to the new protocols and cannot underscore enough how difficult this decision was.
‘Cineworld will continue to monitor the situation closely and will communicate any future plans to resume operations in these markets at the appropriate time.’
Cineworld will look to reopen next year in line with the big blockbuster releases, according to reports, which suggest many of the company’s staff will be offered redundancy, with possible incentives to rejoin when cinemas reopen.