The future of a Norwich cinema is at risk as the Cineworld Group is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy.

Shares plummeted minutes after the Wall Street Journal reported that the world’s second biggest cinema chain had hired lawyers to advise the bankruptcy process.

Cineworld owns Picturehouse which runs Cinema City in St Andrews Street in Norwich.

Despite the reports, Cineworld has declined to comment.

It has cast uncertainty over the future of thousands of workers at its 127 UK cinemas.

Cineworld employs around 28,000 workers globally, with operations in 10 countries.

Philippa Childs, head of entertainment and media union Bectu, said: “This is very worrying news, not least for the UK’s Cineworld and Picturehouse workforce who have already been through a tumultuous time during the pandemic.

“The UK’s cinema industry suffered an incredible blow due to Covid-19 and this latest news will be very unsettling for cinema workers.

“We will do everything we can to support our members during this challenging time and will be looking to Cineworld to mitigate the impact of any bankruptcy arrangements on its employees.”

It comes two days after Cineworld said it is assessing options to shore up its finances after it blamed a “limited” film slate for weak audience numbers in recent months.

The company had pinned its hopes on releases such as Top Gun: Maverick, The Batman and Thor: Love And Thunder to aid its recovery from the heavy impact of the pandemic.

The potential closure of Cinema City in Norwich comes after its education programme was scaled back in 2018, due to previous "cost pressures".

Cinema City Education was managed directly by Cinema City Ltd and oversaw the film education programme of the Norwich-based charitable trust.

But the cutbacks came not long after the opening of the John Hurt Centre - a screen heritage and film education centre funded largely by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant - in September 2016.

The cinema said the decision was made due to the need to pay off the final tranche costs of the 2007 capital redevelopment project, which turned the site into a three-screen digital complex.