Movie theater owner Universal is shutting down its two largest movie theaters in Japan, the first in nearly a decade, in what’s been dubbed a global phenomenon.
The Los Angeles-based company, which has theaters in New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, said in a statement it was “shocked and disappointed” to announce it was shutting down the three theater locations in Tokyo and Osaka.
The company also said it would begin phasing out its two other Japan-based movie theaters, one in Nagoya, and one in Osaka.
“We’re extremely disappointed that the movie industry in Japan is struggling with the unprecedented phenomenon of piracy,” the company said.
We need to continue to take every measure to prevent this from happening in Japan. “
The industry in America is experiencing a renaissance.
We need to continue to take every measure to prevent this from happening in Japan.
Our strategy remains the same and we will continue to support the Japanese movie industry and its businesses.”
The Tokyo-based theater, known as the Kumeidai, was founded in 1997 and operates three other movie theaters across the country.
The Tokyo Dome, which opened in 2000, is the largest cinema in the country and is home to several foreign films.
Universal said the company will provide support for the three remaining theaters by paying their expenses and providing a temporary replacement facility to them.
It said it expects to pay for the temporary replacement facilities in the next two months.
It’s unclear how long it will take to find another site for the Osaka and Tokyo Dome theaters.
“As a result, we have decided to shut down all the Tokyo Dome and Osaka Dome theaters,” the Universal statement said.
The chain said it plans to reopen the Osaka Dome and Tokyo Tower theaters later this month.
The New York-based cinema chain is also shutting down two theaters, including the Tokyo Tower.
A spokesman for the company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.