Regal Cinemas Will Reopen Theaters Starting in April: Live Updates

The Regal Cinemas theater in Times Square. The theater chain’s parent company, Cineworld.
Credit…Nathan Bajar for The New York Times

Cineworld, the parent company of the U.S. movie theater chain Regal Cinemas, announced on Tuesday that it would reopen its cinemas in the United States in April and in Britain in May as those countries ease lockdown restrictions.

“We have long-awaited this moment,” said Mooky Greidinger, the chief executive of Cineworld, which is based in London. “With capacity restrictions expanding to 50 percent or more across most U.S. states, we will be able to operate profitably in our biggest markets.”

Regal Cinemas is the second largest theater chain in the United States, after AMC Theaters. The announcement by Cineworld comes six months after the movie theater chains were forced to shut down across the United States and Britain last October in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The decision affected a total of 45,000 employees in both countries and forced studios to postpone film releases.

Cineworld also announced a multiyear agreement with Warner Bros. starting in 2022 that will allow the theater chain to show the studios’ films for 45 days in the United States and 31 days in Britain. The deal shortens the typical window that theaters have to show movies before they are released to on-demand streaming services.

The reopening plans in the United States will coincide with the release of two movies from Warner Bros. Pictures, “Godzilla vs. Kong” on April 2 and “Mortal Kombat” on April 16.

“We are very happy for the agreement with Warner Bros.,” Mr. Greidinger said. “This agreement shows the studio’s commitment to the theatrical business.”

Last week, AMC Theaters announced the reopening of nearly all of its U.S. theaters.

The moves come at a time of concern that looser restrictions will lead to rise in coronavirus cases. On Monday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that relaxed pandemic restrictions could lead to another spike. “If we don’t take the right actions now,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “we will have another avoidable surge.”

In September, Cineworld reported a pretax loss of $1.6 billion for the first half of 2020. In 2019, 90 percent of the company’s revenue was generated in the United States and Britain.

“The worst was avoided by swift and vigorous action,” Mr. Powell will tell the House Financial Services committee, according to prepared remarks.
Credit…Pool photo by Susan Walsh

Jerome H. Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that the economy is healing and that although many workers and businesses continue to suffer, the aggressive response from the central bank, Congress and the White House helped to avoid the most devastating economic scenarios.

“While the economic fallout has been real and widespread, the worst was avoided by swift and vigorous action,” Mr. Powell will tell the House Financial Services committee, according to prepared remarks.

Mr. Powell will be testifying alongside Janet L. Yellen, who preceded him as Fed chair and is now President Biden’s Treasury secretary.

The testimony is the first time Ms. Yellen and Mr. Powell have appeared side by side in their current roles. President Donald J. Trump chose to replace Ms. Yellen with Mr. Powell at the Fed, but the two economic officials spent several years working together at the Fed and have a good rapport.

Ms. Yellen is expected to face questions on executing Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief legislation, as well as the existing programs that were created during the Trump administration that the Treasury is still required to oversee.

The Treasury Department has been racing to distribute $1,400 checks to millions of Americans, posing a test for Ms. Yellen’s team, which is not yet fully in place.

Ms. Yellen pushed hard for a robust fiscal relief package and has suggested that the next bill needs to be focused on addressing longer-term structural issues facing the economy that have led to vast income inequality.

In her prepared remarks, Ms. Yellen describes rescue legislation as precisely what the economy needed.

“With the passage of the rescue plan, I am confident that people will reach the other side of this pandemic with the foundations of their lives intact,” Ms. Yellen will say. “And I believe they will be met there by a growing economy. In fact, I think we may see a return to full employment next year.”

Mr. Powell, according to his prepared remarks, will point out that the economy has recently improved and that the labor market has begun adding back jobs after a winter lull. But he will note that those metrics may not capture the full extent of the damage to workers.

“However, the sectors of the economy most adversely affected by the resurgence of the virus, and by greater social distancing, remain weak, and the unemployment rate — still elevated at 6.2 percent — underestimates the shortfall,” Mr. Powell is set to say.

The Fed chair will add that the central bank, which has rates at near-zero and is buying bonds to keep credit flowing and to bolster the economy, “will not lose sight of the millions of Americans who are still hurting.”

Mr. Powell will say the Fed’s many market-facing programs in 2020, which supported credit to corporations, midsize businesses and municipalities, helped to “keep organizations from shuttering and put employers in both a better position to keep workers on and to hire them back as the recovery continues.”

And he will underline that the programs, in most cases, have either shut down or will soon end. Mr. Powell consistently has said that the lending efforts, supported by the Treasury, were emergency tools that the Fed would stop using once conditions were stable.

A public health worker in Madrid prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. U.S. health authorities said results from the vaccine’s trial may have relied on outdated information.
Credit…Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Stocks fell on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 also set to open slightly lower, amid new concerns about the global economic recovery from the pandemic.

Europe has been reporting a rise in new virus cases and increasing lockdown restrictions. Fresh confusion about the AstraZeneca vaccine were raised on Tuesday morning as U.S. health authorities questioned whether some of the U.S. trial data submitted by the drugmaker was outdated.

Meanwhile, investors were awaiting testimony from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve chair, Jerome H. Powell, about the recovery of the U.S. economy. They will be questioned by the House Financial Services Committee later Tuesday. According to prepared remarks, Mr. Powell is expected to tell lawmakers that “while the economic fallout has been real and widespread, the worst was avoided by swift and vigorous action.”

  • Wall Street futures were pointing to drop when trading begins later today, coming off a 0.7 percent rise in the S&P 500 on Monday. European indexes were trading lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.3 percent. Investors turned to traditional safe assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds, and the 10-year yield dropped 6 basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 1.64 percent.

  • Energy prices fell. Futures on West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, fell 4.1 percent, back below $60 a barrel. Brent futures, the international benchmark, fell by the same amount, to about $62 a barrel. Natural gas futures also fell.

  • Turkey’s benchmark stock index fell 2.5 percent, after it dropped 10 percent on Monday. Late last week President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired the head of the central bank, sending the currency, bonds and stock prices plummeting.

  • GameStop’s chief customer officer, Frank Hamlin, will leave the company at the end of the month, according to a regulatory filling on Tuesday. The video-game retailer, which was at the center of a retail trading frenzy earlier this year that sent its share price soaring, will release its quarterly earnings later on Tuesday. Last month, GameStop also said its chief financial officer, Jim Bell, would leave. The company is under pressure from an activist shareholder to complete a digital transformation.

  • Shares in Cineworld dropped 7 percent in London even after the movie theater company said it would reopen Regal theaters in America beginning in April. It also announced a new multiyear agreement with Warner Bros. beginning next year to show movies exclusively in its theaters for 45 days — half the time that was common before the pandemic, a sign of the growing importance of the streaming market. Despite its movie theaters being closed for the past six months, Cineworld’s share price has recovered its pandemic losses after securing more capital late last year.

  • Microsoft shares were slightly higher in premarket trading after reports late Monday that the company was in talks with Discord, a social media company popular with gamers, about a potential acquisition.

Baidu’s chairman and chief executive, Robin Li, at an event in Beijing celebrating the company’s listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Credit…Reuters

Baidu, the Chinese search company that some people once called the Google of China, raised $3.1 billion in a share listing in Hong Kong on Tuesday, the latest homecoming of a Chinese company against a toughening regulatory backdrop in the United States.

Investors showed a muted appetite for the company, which already has a listing in New York and has been eclipsed by other Chinese technology firms in recent years. In the United States, Google has used its search power to become a dominant internet company, but Baidu has not grown as quickly as Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company, or Tencent, a conglomerate with holdings in video games and social media.

Its stock finished its first day trading on the Hong Kong exchange flat at 252 Hong Kong dollars, or about $32, a share.

The broader Hang Seng exchange fell 1.3 percent amid rising tensions between the United States and China. The United States said on Monday it would join the European Union, Canada and Britain in sanctioning Chinese officials over human rights abuses against China’s mostly Muslim Uyghur community.

Baidu follows other New York-listed Chinese companies like Alibaba, NetEase and JD.com in offering their shares to Chinese retail investors through a listing in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong. More companies have done “homecoming listings” in recent years as Chinese officials have tried to lure back companies that chose to list overseas.

Secondary listings by Chinese companies have also become more popular as American regulators have pledged to delist Chinese companies from their exchanges if they do not adhere to local accounting rules. Baidu is among a group of Chinese companies that has denied access to inspections by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, an auditing watchdog created by the U.S. government.

An executive order by former President Donald J. Trump preventing Americans from investing in companies deemed to have ties to the Chinese military has also led to an exodus of Chinese companies. The New York Stock Exchange delisted China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom earlier this year.

The Hong Kong market has shown less interest for secondary listings than it has for newer technology companies like Kuaishou, a short-video app, that nearly tripled in value on its debut last month and valued the company at $160 billion.

Baidu is valued at $92 billion on the Nasdaq stock market.

Mayor Martin Walsh at a news conference in Boston this month.
Credit…CJ Gunther/EPA, via Shutterstock

The Senate confirmed Martin J. Walsh, the mayor of Boston and a former leader of the city’s powerful building trades council, as labor secretary on Monday. The vote was 68 to 29.

The confirmation filled the last leadership role for the 15 executive departments in President Biden’s cabinet. Of nine other cabinet-level leadership roles, seven have been filled.

In a statement after the vote, Mr. Walsh said that he was grateful for the Senate’s bipartisan support and that he shared Mr. Biden’s and Vice President Kamala Harris’s “commitment to building an economy that works for all.”

“I have been a fighter for the rights of working people throughout my career, and I remain committed to ensuring that everyone — especially those in our most marginalized communities — receives and benefits from full access to economic opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace,” Mr. Walsh said in the statement. “I believe we must meet this historic moment, and as the nation’s secretary of labor, I pledge to help our economy build back better.”

Mr. Walsh’s nomination had won widespread praise from union officials, who were enthusiastic about having one of their own oversee the department, a historical rarity. Many union officials regard his close relationship with the president as an advantage for labor groups.

“Because he enjoys mutual trust and respect with President Biden, he will be positioned to put labor’s concerns front and center on the national agenda,” Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in an email.

One of Mr. Walsh’s top priorities as labor secretary will be re-energizing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which critics have accused of failing to protect workers during the pandemic. The safety agency recently put out new guidance to employers on protecting workers from Covid-19 and is considering a new rule to mandate safety measures that the Trump administration rejected.

The department has already moved to set aside a number of rules issued by the Trump administration that weakened worker protections. One of those rules would probably have deemed most gig workers to be independent contractors rather than employees, making them ineligible for the federal minimum wage and overtime pay.

Under Mr. Walsh, the department will be charged with crafting replacements for some of these rules. It will most likely move to expand other protections, such as raising the threshold — currently set at about $35,500 — below which most salaried workers are automatically eligible for time-and-a-half overtime pay.

As mayor, he offered support to undocumented immigrants whom federal officials were seeking to detain, pressed contractors to set aside at least 40 percent of their work on public construction projects for racial minorities, and created gender-neutral bathrooms in City Hall.

“If you know Marty Walsh, you know that he has transcended race and class lines and fights for all with a real focus on the vulnerable,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Walsh plans to resign as mayor on Monday evening, according to an aide.

Federal officials are looking into recent accidents involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it.
Credit…KTVU-TV, via Associated Press

Federal officials are looking into a series of recent accidents involving Teslas that either were using Autopilot or might have been using it.

Autopilot is a computerized system that uses radar and cameras to detect lane markings, other vehicles and objects in the road. It can steer, brake and accelerate automatically with little input from the driver. Tesla has said it should be used only on divided highways, but videos on social media show drivers using Autopilot on various kinds of roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed last week that it was investigating 23 such crashes, Neal E. Boudette reports for The New York Times.

  • In one accident this month, a Tesla Model Y rear-ended a police car that had stopped on a highway near Lansing, Mich. The driver, who was not seriously injured, had been using Autopilot, the police said.

  • In February in Detroit, under circumstances similar to the 2016 Florida accident, a Tesla drove beneath a tractor-trailer that was crossing the road, tearing the roof off the car. The driver and a passenger were seriously injured. Officials have not said whether the driver had turned on Autopilot.

  • NHTSA is also looking into a Feb. 27 crash near Houston in which a Tesla ran into a stopped police vehicle on a highway. It is not clear if the driver was using Autopilot. The car did not appear to slow before the impact, the police said.

  • “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has lost more than a million viewers, according to the research firm Nielsen, averaging 1.5 million viewers over the last six months, down from 2.6 million in the same period last year. This year’s season opener in September, in which Ms. DeGeneres apologized in the wake of reports of workplace misconduct at her show, had the highest ratings for an “Ellen” premiere in four years. But since then, the show has seen a 43 percent decline in viewers. Even with the complications affecting all talk shows during the pandemic, the show has suffered a steeper decline than its rivals. “Dr. Phil” is down 22 percent, and “The Kelly Clarkson” show has lost 26 percent of its viewers.

  • Some investors have started distancing themselves from Dispo, a fast-growing photo-sharing app, after its co-founder, the YouTube creator David Dobrik, became embroiled in controversy. In an investigation by Insider that published last week, Mr. Dobrik was accused of playing a role in a sexual assault scandal involving a former member of his “Vlog Squad.” He later told The Information that he would leave Dispo and step down from its board. And some of Dispo’s investors, including Spark Capital, Seven Seven Six and Unshackled Ventures, have also started backing away.

  • President Biden on Monday nominated Lina Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, installing a vocal critic of Big Tech into a key oversight role of the industry. If her nomination is approved by the Senate, Ms. Khan, 32, would fill one of two empty seats earmarked for Democrats at the F.T.C. Ms. Khan became recognized for her ideas on antitrust with a Yale Law Journal paper in 2017 called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” that accused Amazon of abusing its monopoly power.

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