Tag Archives: amc theaters

AMC Announces a July 15 Re-Opening

AMC

Despite rising cases of COVID-19 and a first wave that’s still oncoming, AMC theaters has announced that they will be opening about 450 locations around the country. That’s about 90% of the moviegoing at AMC. All theaters will be re-opened by the end of July.

The chain has announced “AMC Safe & Clean,” a new initiative that will “meet or exceed health and safety directives set forth by federal, state and local authorities.”

This initiative includes “Seat capacity restrictions, social distancing efforts, commitments to health, new intensified cleaning protocols, contactless ticketing and expanded mobile ordering of food & beverages.”

You can read more details at their site.

The theaters will not require masks to be worn calling it a “political controversy.” The company has reverse course and will now require the use of masks. They will sell masks for $1.

In early July, the chain will list the opening dates of specific theaters, movie listings, and showtimes.

We’ll be reporting more I’m sure and first we want to see if AMC’s terms of service will change to indemnify them from attendees catching COVID-19 by attending their facilities.

Rumors of Amazon Acquiring AMC Entertainment Causes Shares to Spike

AMC Theaters

Could Amazon buy AMC Entertainment? A rumor is going around that may be the case which caused AMC’s shares to spike on Monday. The shares were up over 34% based as of this post on the rumor driven by The Daily Mail, so take it with a grain of salt.

Of course neither company has a comment.

The rumors have met heavy doubts but would be an intriguing move.

Amazon is investing in its own original series with Amazon Studios releasing films and television shows. It would create an integration harkening back to movie studio ownership which ended due to the 1948 court case United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. which affirmed the ownership of theaters by studios violated antitrust law.

There has been talk of allowing such ownership to resume.

What it also provides is a possible avenue for Amazon to further integrate selling related merchandise for releases creating pop up shops.

For now, chalk this one up to a rumor, but an intriguing one.

(via Deadline)

Theaters Take on Premiere Video on Demand as Universal’s Trolls World is a Hit

Trolls World Tour

Things are getting testy between theaters and studios as the opening of theaters looms on the horizon and studios are rethinking releases. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous studios pulled their films choosing instead to release them video on demand or shrinking the release windows from theaters to digital.

The most high profile release so far was Universal‘s Trolls World Tour. Things escalated after a Wall Street Journal report says the film earned $95 million domestically in its first 19 days. The original film earned $153.7 million domestically for its entire run and $120.9 million after 19 days.

The National Association of Theatre Owners sent out a statement:

This performance is indicative of hundreds of millions of people isolated in their homes seeking entertainment, not a shift in consumer movie viewing preferences. It is not surprising that people under shelter-in-home ordinances for weeks on end with increasingly limited entertainment options would take advantage of the movie’s direct-to-VOD move to keep children entertained, even at a premium price.

We’ll ignore the blatant falacy of “increasingly limited entertainment options.”

They also emphasized:

Universal heavily marketed the title as a theatrical release, in theaters and elsewhere, for weeks on end. That is unlikely to recur in normal times, and those costs haven’t been disclosed. While Universal may be pleased with the PVOD results of Trolls World Tour, this outcome should not be interpreted as a sign of a ‘new normal’ for Hollywood.

We’ll also ignore the weird tangent about marketing. As marketing is marketing and there might be a stronger marketing plan to be made emphasizing its exclusiveness to video on demand.

After the success of Trolls World Tour, Universal decided to release the Judd Apatow/Pete Davidson comedy The King of Staten Island in homes June 12, skipping its original June 19 theatrical release.

Warner Bros. is skipping theaters as well with Scoob! going digital on May 15, STX is taking My Spy to Amazon, Paramount/MRC‘s The Lovebirds is going to Netflix, and Artemis Fowl is releasing on Disney+. None of these films would likely have been blockbusters and will likely play well to their niche audiences on demand.

NATO also argued that the optimum price point for movie rentals are $5-$8 with $6 being the sweet spot and transactional video has been declining since 2004 with sales and rentals of individual titles at home dropping from $24.9 billion to $9.3 billion in 2019.

What’s interesting is, that $6 rental isn’t that much different from what studios get currently. With an $10 ticket at the American box office, they’d get about 60% or $6. Overseas it can be 20% to 40% depending on the arrangement. Movies begin with fees up to 90% and the fees go down. This article from The Week has an excellent explanation. So, NATO has shown studios would potentially make the same and possibly more with video on demand.

Things have ramped up further with AMC Theatres saying they will no longer play any Universal Pictures after NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell promising to “open titles on premium and in theaters at the same time.”

AMC Theaters chairman-CEO Adam Aron went on the attack in a letter to Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Donna Langley saying:

It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice. Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theaters in the United States, Europe or the Middle East.

This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theaters reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat. Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes. Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response.

Universal’s unilateral pronouncements on this issue are unpalatable to us, as has always been the case, AMC is willing to sit down with Universal to discuss different windows strategies and different economic models between your company and ours. However, in the absence of such discussions, and an acceptable conclusion thereto, our decades of incredibly successful business activity together has sadly come to an end.

Theaters are in a tough position as they need studios more than studios need them. With months of revenue lost, they need guaranteed blockbusters like Universal’s Fast and Furious 9 which has been pushed back to April 2, 2021 and Disney’s Mulan which is currently set to open July 24, 2020. Both of which would be billion-dollar films in normal environments. With more digital services being released with “captive audiences,” studios will need theaters less and less. Disney+ has over 50 million subscribers already as an example and at $7(ish) a month, that’s over 350 million reasons a month and 4.2 billion reasons yearly.

(via Wall Street Journal, Variety, Deadline)

AMC Theaters Aren’t Opening Any Time Soon and Waiting for New Movies

AMC Theaters

While some Governors and areas are lifting restrictions on businesses and gathering but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to go see a film at AMC soon. In a statement Friday, the theater chain said it will keep its venues shut until at least the summer.

Courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:

As we plan our reopening, the health and safety of our guests and associates is our absolute highest priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited about returning to their favorite movie theaters.

The theater chain is looking for surefire hits to get people into the seats and that currently isn’t happening until later this year. The first major film is Christopher Nolan’s Tenet which is currently slated for release July 17. It’s followed by Mulan on July 24.

But what about safety?

AMC is currently working through every detail required to successfully showcase these exciting new releases in an environment that’s safe and welcoming for moviegoers, and we will share those details as we get closer to the dates when our theaters will reopen.

AMC Stocks Increase After a Glimpse of Optimism

AMC Theaters

Things were looking pretty grim for AMC theaters due to the impact of COVID-19. But, shares surged Friday after the chain said it had enough liquidity to survive the current suspension of operations. A partial reopening is expected around Thanksgiving.

The company also said it had “commenced a private offering of $500 million of first-lien notes due 2025.”

The chain has been shut down since mid-March due to the pandemic and has been generating virtually “no revenue.” Operations are suspended through the end of June.

The company took steps to survive until its reopening including full or partial furloughs of staff, salary reductions, and working with landlords, vendors, and other partners to manage their costs.

The aren’t expected to continue dividend payments or make share repurchases this year.

The company has said:

Due to significant actions taken by the company, we believe our current cash balance is sufficient to withstand a global suspension of operations until a partial reopening in July.

After giving effect to the proposed notes offering, we believe the company will have sufficient liquidity to withstand a global suspension of operations until a partial reopening ahead of Thanksgiving.

But, there is some trepidation as well:

We believe, but cannot guarantee, that the exhibition industry will ultimately rebound and benefit from pent-up social demand for out-of-home entertainment, as government restrictions are lifted and home sheltering subsides.

Will people want to gather together in a theater after this scare? That’s the big unknown but rumors that the chain will file bankruptcy may be just that, rumors.

The stock was up 31.15% to $3.20 as of this article.

Is it Curtains for AMC?

AMC Theaters is the largest movie theater chain in the U.S. with 600 locations nationwide. With the spread of COVID-19, the chain has closed its locations going dark with the escapist reality that’s now being consumed in people’s homes.

AMC Theaters

While AMC CEO Adam Aron is optimistic that the chain will open its doors in mid-June others aren’t as positive about that reality.

S&P has downgraded AMC’s credit rating expecting the movie theater chain to not recover.

We do not believe AMC has sufficient sources of liquidity to cover its expected negative cash flows past mid-summer.

-S&P analysts

The change in credit rating moves the company into “default imminent” due to “little prospect for recovery.”

While some have projected that the COVID-19 pandemic will peak between June and August S&P expects it to continue well beyond leaving the company without the needed summer blockbusters and closure for 6 months or more. That will make the company unable to pay its debt. The company reported a $5 billion-plus deficit at the end of 2019 and losses of $149 million for the year. They had a $110 million profit in 2018.

The company has cut executive pay and bonuses for three years in exchange for stock and furloughed 600 corporate employees.

The closure of so many theaters and the loss of screens will be a massive blow to the industry, not just in its recovery but the future as a whole as consolidation has lead to stricter screening deals that have resulted in further market dominance by a few. A shift to digital releases during the crisis has also created a murkier future. While that sort of release has been attempted in the past, it’s never been done on such a large scale. High profile films are skipping theatrical runs altogether while others have compressed the time of release from the theater to digital release. It’s unknown how much that will continue once the crisis has abated.

AMC Cuts Seating in Half to Combat COVID-19

AMC Theaters

Businesses are scrambling to deal with the outbreak of the COVID-19 and many are updating customers as to how they’re exactly dealing with the situation. AMC sent out an email to those subscribed to their email list with their updates.

While the update featured the standard increases in cleaning and a greater focus on ill employees that many are taking, the email also announced a drastic cut in capacity for seating.

From the email:

To give you more empty space around you within our theatres, we are capping ticket availability to 50% of the normal seating capacity for every showtime in every auditorium at all AMC theatres nationwide. Once we hit 50% of an auditorium’s capacity, movie screenings will show as being Sold Out, even though by definition there will be a large number of unfilled seats. This will begin Saturday, March 14, and for now, will continue until April 30.

For those AMC auditoriums with more than 500 seats, we will further reduce bookings to a maximum of 250 people in any case.

That’s a massive reduction in seating and potential tickets being sold. Its impact on movie releases are unknown and numerous studios have shifted releases from their original release date. There’s a good chance more movies will shift opening dates due to this policy as well.

Expect a very rocky year for entertainment as a whole. Production is being shut down for films and television shows and now studios will be contending with a diminished capacity for release as well as customers with the unease of leaving their home if they’re even allowed. The ripple effects will be felt for months if not years to come.