The largest theatrical exhibition company in the United States said Monday night that all 630 AMC locations in the country will close for at least six to 12 weeks starting Tuesday. The move is in compliance with local, state and federal directives and as a precaution to help ensure the health and safety of moviegoers and staff.
The chain will remain flexible on reopening.
AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said: “We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres. Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.”
Earlier Monday, AMC’s closest rival, Regal decided to close its entire chain until further notice. On Monday night, before AMC shuttered, the number of theaters hitting pause due to the coronavirus climate was just north of 3,000, with such chains as Landmark Theatres, Cineplex Odeon, and Alamo Drafthouse being down. The only one we haven’t heard from is Cinemark.
Exhibition never wanted to close down, even after weathering a historic low at the box office last weekend. But this isn’t like the Great Depression. Governments are requiring people to stay at home in this coronavirus scare, and thus, it’s impossible for anyone to head to the theater. And so U.S. exhibition, much like China’s during the winter, must take a pause.
AMC is temporarily stopping all A-List memberships for the time that their theaters are closed, with no billing or payments occurring. “Members will be notified prior to this pause expiring and will have the option to choose to extend the pause for another month if they so desire. Additionally, any A-List member who did not renew their membership any time so far in calendar year 2020 will not have to wait the customary 6 months to rejoin,” read a statement.
The chain encouraged its attendees “to utilize AMC Theatres On Demand, which allows them to rent or buy movies from a selection of more than 3,500 titles, including recent and popular titles from every major studio.” AMC Theatres On Demand can be accessed online or through the exhibitor’s mobile app or smart TVs.