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AMC plans to open in July despite ‘substantial doubt’ it can remain in business

AMC Entertainment wants to reopen its movie theaters in July

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People enter an AMC theater Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Los Angeles. Californians wanting to escape the new reality of the coronavirus at the movies, casino or amusement park are running into the six foot rule. State health officials issued new guidance Saturday urging theaters to keep attendance under 250 people and ask strangers to sit six feet apart. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

People enter an AMC theater Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Los Angeles. Californians wanting to escape the new reality of the coronavirus at the movies, casino or amusement park are running into the six foot rule. State health officials issued new guidance Saturday urging theaters to keep attendance under 250 people and ask strangers to sit six feet apart. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Marcio Jose Sanchez, Associated Press

AMC Entertainment wants to reopen movie theaters beginning in July, the company said Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reports.

What’s going on:

  • On Tuesday, AMC Entertainment said in an earning calls that it plans to reopen almost all of its theaters in the United States and the United Kingdom in July in time to show the summer’s two biggest films — “Tenet” on July 17 and “Mulan” on July 24, per CNBC.
  • AMC plans to operate with limited capacity and blocked off seating. Additional safety measures will be added to protect guests, according to CNBC.
  • AMC’s shares spiked 14% as a result of the news.
  • AMC reopened its Odeon Cinemas theaters in Norway already. The theaters were limited to 25% capacity. The theater still sold 83% of tickets, CNBC reports.

What happened last week

  • Questions about AMC Entertainment’s future were raised last week when the company said it had “substantial doubt” it would stay in business after the COVID-19 pandemic, as I reported for the Deseret News.
  • The company said it expected to lose between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2020 because of the pandemic — a financial hit the movie theater chain isn’ sure it can recover from, per CNN.
  • AMCsaid:“We believe we have the cash resources to reopen our theaters and resume our operations this summer or later. Our liquidity needs thereafter will depend, among other things, on the timing of a full resumption of operations, the timing of movie releases and our ability to generate revenues.”

Does it make sense to go back?

  • Americans remain split about whether they’ll return to theaters anytime soon, according to The Verge.
  • A survey from Morning Consult found 22% of people said they’d feel comfortable going to a movie. Meanwhile, 33% said it would be six months or more before they returned.
  • The New York Times reported that 64% of epidemiologists don’t expect to return to movie theaters for at least one year.