Cinemark movie theater chain hit by layoffs, furloughs

Cinemark, the third-largest movie theater chain in the US, has laid off half of its corporate staff and furloughed 17,500 hourly workers due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Cinemark said the 50 percent of workers who have been furloughed at its Plano, Texas, headquarters will continue to receive 20 percent of their salary as well as full benefits. The employees who remain have seen their salaries slashed by half.

The cuts were revealed in an SEC filing Tuesday, and followed a $250 million debt offering by parent company, Cinemark Holdings, a day earlier. In order to shore up cash, the chain said it will suspend its dividend payment, which runs about $42 million per quarter.

Like rival chains AMC and Regal, Cinemark closed all 345 of its North American theaters on March 16 amid the coronavirus crisis.

“The situation continues to be volatile and the social and economic effects are widespread,” Cinemark said in the filing. “As a movie exhibitor that operates spaces where patrons gather in close proximity, our business is significantly impacted by protective actions that federal, state and local governments have taken to control the spread of the pandemic.”

The coronavirus has crushed the movie theater industry. Over 40,000 screens have gone dark since mid-March, and since then, theater chains have scrambled to keep their businesses solvent.

Layoffs and salary cuts have hit the number one and two US movie theater firms, AMC and Regal parent Cineworld. As exclusively reported by The Post, AMC is in talks to hire bankruptcy law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges to explore a potential Chapter 11 filing.

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