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AMC CEO reveals this major change to theaters during coronavirus pandemic

AMC Entertainment CEO said theaters made a major change to keep people safe.

In this May 11, 2005, file photo, people enter AMC’s Studio 30 theater in Olathe, Kan. AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass.
In this May 11, 2005, file photo, people enter AMC’s Studio 30 theater in Olathe, Kan.
Orlin Wagner, Associated Press

AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron said recently that his company’s movie theaters made some changes to keep people safe from the novel coronavirus — including adding new air filtration systems.

What’s going on?

Aron told CNBC on “Squawk Box” that the theaters have increased cleanliness across the board.

  • “Our theater cleanliness scores are the best they’ve been in decades, an all-time high.”
  • “I think you can eat off the floor.”

Aron said the theater chain worked with Clorox and Harvard University’s School of Public Health to create a safer experience.

Face mask requirements and social distancing measures were added, sure. But the theater chain did even more than that.

Aerosolized microdoplets could lead to the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has led people to worry about traveling to indoor spaces, NPR reports.

So movie theaters have had to adapt.

  • Aron said: “But much more important than that, we’ve invested literally millions and millions in high-tech solutions. We’ve upgraded our air filters to MERV 13. It’s about four times the filtration that we had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve bought electrostatic sprayers for all of our theaters so that we’re spraying down out auditoriums with these electronically charged cleaning solutions, so we’re all over both tough and airborne transmission of the virus.”

Blake Andersen, Megaplex Theatres president, told me back in August that the Utah theater chain increased its ventilation and filtering procedures.

  • Andersen told me that the system was “incredible” before. But Megaplex worked to “increase ventilation and increase filtration, so that you know it’s even better than it was before.”

For movie theaters, one issue remains — getting people to come back.

  • “The issue for us will be convincing moviegoers that our theaters are safe and that our theaters are clean,” Andersen said.