The coronavirus’ impact on the entertainment industry has already been significant, including the delay of many planned theatrical releases and the indefinite closure of theme parks and cinemas. And now, AMC Theatres have announced that it’s unlikely they’ll be reopening their venues until at least July. However, this isn’t just to do with the open-ended questions about the lockdown, but for the fact there won’t be any major releases to screen and bring in audiences.
Of course, there are plenty of independent and older pictures that could be used to fill empty slots, but it seems that AMC aren’t ready to gamble on them without tentpole releases to bring in the summer crowds. An AMC spokesperson had this to say about their current thinking:
“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 theatres.”
AMC’s statement also references that the theatrical season should resume around Christopher Nolan’s Tenet and the already-delayed live-action Mulan from Disney. In addition, they might start programming with previously released and popular titles, but only seemingly in advance of the big name movies that should, barring any more delays, represent a truncated summer blockbuster schedule.
The decision certainly makes sense, given the precarious financial situation of AMC right now, and the risk of reopening its doors without sure-fire moneymakers. While the company did experience a shares spike last week, they’re also having to deal with landlords suing the chain for failing to meet rent demands. Indeed, some business analysts have claimed that AMC might never reopen, having already been in major financial difficulty before COVID-19.
Although the future of a corporate movie chain is unlikely to be top of people’s worries for failing businesses, the loss of one of our most recognizable brands would compound what has already been a devastating year for the entertainment industry. Here’s hoping that AMC Theatres and other chains are able to recover, and that traditional moviegoing won’t continue to slide in favor of home streaming.