UPDATED, Wednesday 2:39 PM: Many major chain circuits in the Houston area remain closed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Now that the rain has stopped, AMC is assessing its buildings with the hope to open over the next few days. Ditto for Regal, both in Houston and the Beaumont, TX area.
However, parts of Louisiana are being punished by the hour with Harvey now a Tropical Storm. There’s a wind advisory in effect for Orleans and Jefferson parishes, with gusts reaching up to 35 mph. The storm seemed to offer a break to New Orleans, with the city’s mayor Mitch Landrieu telling CNN, “By the grace of God, this is going to miss us.” Meanwhile, the San Antonio and Austin areas are fine.
Some theaters in Houston have opened their doors, but we’re hearing they’re generating low or zero grosses — read iPic, a handful of Cinemark sites, with three Star Cinema venues by Friday. The AMC Classic Brazos 14 in Lake Jackson was able to open today with a limited schedule based on local curfews. AMC’s Corpus 16 is aiming to open tomorrow.
UPDATE, Friday, August 25, 5:15 PM: With Hurricane Harvey now a Category 4, Regal and AMC have already closed their Houston locations. The storm is expected to linger until Monday or Tuesday, and the chains will review weather conditions each morning before reopening. They’re also keeping a watch on San Antonio which now has flash flood warnings. Regal shut down four venues in Houston: The Greenway 24, Marq*E 23, West Oaks 13 and Grand Parkway 22, while AMC has shuttered 13 including Corpus 16, Brazos 14, and the Studio 30; the latter of which is a high-grossing location.
Previous, Fri. Aug. 25 11:36AM: As if the summer box office couldn’t get any more catastrophic. After registering the lowest grossing amount of tickets sales for 2017 last weekend with $95.9M, the box office is looking at a blow of -5% as the Texas southeast coast braces for Hurricane Harvey. But that’s not all.
Already, distribution executives are expecting Saturday’s business to slow down another -5% due to the Floyd Mayweather, Jr-Conor McGregor Showtime PPV boxing match.
“Half of Texas is going to be wiped out,” said one distribution chief about the category 3 hurricane which hits landfall tonight.
Heavy rain, flooding and strong winds could leave a big part of South Texas “uninhabitable for weeks or months,” according to the National Weather Service in Houston. There’s a flash flood watch in effect for Corpus Christi, Riviera, Port O’Connor area with tornado risks. Power outages are expected in Houston and San Antonio. Harvey is expected to be the strongest landfall in the Texas Coastal Bend since the infamous Category 3 Hurricane Celia hammered the Corpus Christi area in August 1970 with wind gusts up to 161 mph. That storm damaged close to 90% of the city’s businesses and 70% of its residences. 2005’s Hurricane Katrina left 1,800 dead.
With several counties calling for residents to evacuate, we’re already hearing the following movie theaters are closed until further notice:
In Corpus Christi the AMC Stadium 16, CMK Century 16, CSV Cinergy 8, CSV Movies 4 as well as CMK Movies 12, Texas City; CMK Cinemark 12, Victoria; AMC Brazos 14, Lake Jackson; and Schuman’s Movie Bowl Grille, Bay City, TX.
Currently summer 2017 for the period of May 5-Aug. 20 is down 13% with $3.59 billion versus the same period a year ago which totaled $4.1B. Each of the last five down weekends per ComScore has contributed to the annual B.O. being 1% behind 2016. The 2017 B.O. for the span of Jan. 1-Aug. 20 counts 7.35B, -5% the same date range a year ago.