Why Regal Theaters Closing Is A Particularly Sad Thing For Alita: Battle Angel Fans

Alita: Battle Angel Alita puts on her battle paint

The past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster ride for the Alita Army fandom. As the group was pushing for a theatrical re-release event for Alita: Battle Angel, the news came down last Thursday that victory had been achieved, with Cinemark and Regal Theaters both pledging their theaters to the cause. However, the tide started to turn, as rumors of Regal and its parent company Cineworld shutting down their U.S. and U.K. locations started to crop up. Sure enough, those rumors have been confirmed, with the chain looking to go into temporary closure again as of this Thursday. What then makes this news even more sad is that Alita: Battle Angel fans looking to get out to those revival screenings at that chain will be out of luck.

Naturally, the big reason for Regal and Cineworld’s announcement is that there has been a huge push of delays for big ticket films like Wonder Woman 1984 and No Time To Die into later debuts than expected. In the case of the latter film, James Bond won’t be returning to the screen at all in 2020, instead taking a seat in 2021 – almost a year after the 25th Bond film was originally supposed to debut. Since Regal had previously announced that October 30 was the big day they had planned to bring back Alita: Battle Angel, it looks like this event may be one more date that will have to rescheduled.

Oddly enough, while the other two major theater chains in the U.S., Cinemark and AMC, seem to still be circling the October 30 date, there’s no official announcement from either of those chains as to when tickets will be on sale. But as it stands right now, those companies haven’t announced any sort of closures in response to Regal’s big announcement, so there’s a chance that Alita: Battle Angel could hit theaters as planned, just not at Regal Cinemas.

It’s certainly enough to make fans worry, as it felt like the stars were aligning for an official announcement on ticket sales in the near future. As the end of month date was seemingly confirmed by Regal Cinemas themselves, thanks to a rather fateful tweet that was send out last weekend, a lot of ground would have to be covered to notify fans and send them off to the races to grab prime seats. Which brings everything back to a very crucial question: if Regal’s shutting down, is there a chance that AMC and Cinemark might do the same?

Let’s say the worst case scenario comes to pass, and all the major chains close their locations once more to stay afloat until the big ticket movies headed our way in December. That scenario would be an even sadder situation, as it would potentially cancel the October 30 event all together. However, that doesn’t mean that fans in the Alita Army should give up, especially because this Alita: Battle Angel re-release was hard won in the first place. With the suggestion that moviegoers would show up to see this slow growing internet favorite at their local theater, a case could be made that theater chains are going to be keen on following through with that pledge once they re-open.

Not every movie gets its fans to swarm the internet with requests to bring it back into theaters, and even when the demand is there, it’s never a given. Fans have gotten two of the three major theater chains to get Alita: Battle Angel back up on the big screen, which is encouraging, even in the light of this bummer news. That’s not a decision that’s easily made, and much as bigger first run movies are planning to release once the doors are open wide once again, it doesn’t feel like Regal or Cinemark would forget about the movie that showed a wellspring of interest from the past.

No matter what happens, Alita: Battle Angel fans should stay motivated, but also stay safe. Should the worst case become an unpleasant reality, it’ll be important to keep the conversation going and remind Regal Cinemas that when they’re ready, so is Alita: Battle Angel. Setbacks come and go, but the goal remains, and the battle’s not over until the re-release has happened, and of course, an Alita sequel is greenlit. For now, Alita: Battle Angel is still available on physical and digital formats for purchase or rental, and Cinemax subscribers can catch the film both on air and through the MaxGo streaming platform. Needless to say, as soon as any updates on the October 30 re-release break into the wild, we here at CinemaBlend will report on them.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.