Regal Cinemas to close Rockville theater, other locations

The+Rockville+Regal+Cinema+is+located+on+199+East+Montgomery+Avenue%2C+next+to+the+Ben+%26+Jerry%E2%80%99s+ice+cream+shop.

Claire Yu

The Rockville Regal Cinema is located on 199 East Montgomery Avenue, next to the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.

Regal Cinemas is shutting down 39 of its movie theaters across the U.S., including the Rockville Center Stadium 13 location. Cineworld, the parent company of Regal Cinemas, stated that it will begin rejecting leases for closing theaters on Feb. 15. The Rockville theater has not yet announced a closing date, and the Germantown and Silver Spring locations will remain open. 

This decision came after Cineworld filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September due to the rising popularity of viewing movies at home during the pandemic, which decreased public screening profits. 

Many RM students opted to watch movies at home in the past few years because the risk of contracting COVID-19 was higher, but they do not feel as cautious about entering public spaces anymore. “COVID’s impact on theaters may have been really great for like a while, but I think it’s definitely waning down now,” junior Joy Jiang said.

According to The MoCo Show, Regal Rockville Center first opened on Nov. 6, 1998, meaning it has entertained the community—including RM students—for almost 25 years. 

“To be honest it’s sad that it is closing, not because I go there often but because it is a great place to relax after school with friends,” senior Katherine Beza said. “During exam season many people with afternoon exams would stay [at Rockville Town Center] and either study or do fun activities while they wait, or after exams, go out to relax.” 

The Rockville Regal Cinema is a go-to for many RM students who want to go out with their friends, especially because of its favorable location. “I think it’s really convenient, just ‘cause it’s so close to school,” Jiang said. “It’s like, less than a 10 minute walk.”

But now that it is closing, it means one less option for entertainment with friends. “Kind of was making plans for this year around that,” Beza said. “I think it was last year when my friends and I planned to watch a movie right after our math exams as a way of relaxing.” 

CNN reports that despite these closures, the fate of Cineworld’s remaining theaters is uncertain, as the company is currently “working with landlords to keep [them] open.” 

“The Debtors are hopeful that these negotiations will lead to lease concessions and modifications that will obviate the need for rejection and enable additional theater sites to remain open,” the company said in the filing.