This is actually kind of surprising and maybe a little hope that things aren't quite as on fire as we all thought. When Cineworld announced over the weekend that they were closing all of their United Kingdom locations and all 500+ Regal Cinema locations in the United States for an indeterminate amount of time, people thought the worst. It came on the heels of more movie delays as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continued to wreak havoc on the world. One of the reasons for the closures, at least according to Cineworld, was that New York is refusing to open theaters in any capacity. Cinemark came out yesterday and declared their intentions to stay open through the pandemic, so now we know the fates of the second and third biggest theater companies, and today we got word on the first, which is AMC Theatres. According to Deadline, AMC is planning on staying open despite all of the theatrical delays.
While 500+ theaters in the United States closing is nothing to sneeze at, it is good that AMC Theatres is planning on toughing it out for as long as they can, much in the same way that Cinemark is despite all major blockbusters fleeing for 2021.
AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement, "We take great comfort in knowing that literally millions of moviegoers have already visited our theatres. They have done so in part because of our AMC Safe & Clean protocols, developed in consultation with Clorox and faculty of the Harvard University School of Public Health. Our guests are telling us that our theatres have never been cleaner, and that they recognize the great effort AMC is making to keep them healthy and safe."
He went on to talk about the agreement they struck with Universal earlier this year about shrinking the theatrical window. This deal was struck after AMC declared their intentions to boycott all Universal movies after the company released Trolls World Tour on VOD earlier this year.
He added, "Fortunately for AMC, our groundbreaking agreement with Universal Studios announced earlier this summer puts AMC in a position where we can open our theatres when others may feel the need to close. We are fully comfortable showing Universal films in our theaters, even as they implement premium video on demand as we have mutually agreed. This is because AMC will share in premium revenues coming from their early availability in the home."
AMC Theatres and Cinemark deciding to stay open is a big deal, but we shouldn't take that as an indication that the theater industry is safe. It mostly means that these two companies are breaking even right now or at least not taking that much of a loss. That kind of thing is in no way sustainable for anyone involved. The rest of 2020 and early 2021 are going to be rough for theaters companies and all of their employees, and we can hope there are still plenty of places to go to the movies by the time all of the delayed blockbusters make it to the big screen.