A little over a month before it was set to hit theaters, No Time to Die became the latest major blockbuster to vacate the 2020 release calendar and flee to next year, with the 25th installment in the James Bond franchise delayed until April. At this rate, even if the industry manages to reopen at anything close to full capacity over the next several months, there’s not going to be any movies for audiences to go and see.
Wonder Woman 1984 recently moved to Christmas Day, but Black Widow was shunted back by six months and there’s every chance that Warner Bros. could follow Marvel Studios’ lead and hold off on their female-driven superhero spectacular for even longer, and that’s without mentioning the constant speculation that Dune could also be headed to 2021 as WB look to maximize profits on an epic sci-fi that’s far from a sure thing.
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The theatrical business has been in the doldrums since March, although the international box office is faring a great deal better than it is domestically, as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and China’s The Eight Hundred continue to post strong numbers overseas. The outlook is increasingly grim in North America, though, and AMC Theatres could be set to completely run out of capital in just six months, as per financial analysts S&P Global.
“Given our expectations for a high rate of cash burn, we believe the company will run out of liquidity within the next six months unless it is able to raise additional capital, which we view as unlikely, or attendance levels materially improve.”
AMC is the country’s largest chain, and if they end up going under, then that would be very bad news for smaller companies or independent theaters. In order for the industry to survive, people need to get back to the movies, but with the Coronavirus pandemic set to stick around for a long time yet and the release schedule looking more barren than it ever has, dark days could be ahead.