Update, March 17, 2:50 p.m.: In an email to customers, the Cinemark chain, which operates two multiplexes at Bellevue’s Lincoln Square, announced that it is closing all of its theaters effective Wednesday, March 18, “until we believe it is safe to once gain welcome moviegoers to our auditoriums.
Update, March 17, 9:35 a.m.: AMC Theaters, the country’s largest theater chain, announced the following on its website today: “All AMC theaters are temporarily closed in accordance with local, state and federal guidelines. They will re-open when those guidelines allow.” AMC’s theaters in the Seattle area include Pacific Place 11 downtown, AMC 10 in the University District, Oak Tree 6 in North Seattle, Factoria 8, Alderwood Mall 16 and Woodinville 12.
Regal Cinemas, the country’s second-largest movie theater chain, announced Monday that it will be closing its theaters in response to new guidelines for social gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The closure, beginning Tuesday, does not have a definite end date. Regal is the first major chain to announce closure, but it seems likely that others such as AMC and Cinemark will follow suit.
Regal’s theaters in the Seattle area include the Meridian, Thornton Place, Crossroads, Alderwood, Bella Bottega, Cinebarre Mountlake Terrace, and others.
Local independent moviehouses in the area are already dark: Ark Lodge Cinemas and The Beacon both announced closures on Monday; Majestic Bay, Northwest Film Forum, Grand Illusion Cinema and SIFF had already closed their doors.
In other movie news, Universal Pictures has announced that it is making new releases available for on-demand rental this week, rather than waiting for the usual theatrical window. Movies currently in theaters, including “The Invisible Man,” “The Hunt” and “Emma” will be available for home viewing as soon as Friday, March. 20