In the wake of Cineworld’s decision to shutter its UK venues and Regal U.S. theaters, AMC, the No. 1 exhibitor in the world, will remain open. AMC joins No. 3 exhibitor Cinemark in staying open during the pandemic, despite Cineworld and Regal’s plans to close this Thursday.
More than 80% of AMC’s U.S. circuit is open and an even higher share of the chain’s international theatres across Europe and the Middle East are open, with more than 90% of its Odeon Cinemas Group across Europe and 100% of the chain’s locations in the Middle East in operation. In addition, AMC is actively planning to open more of its theatres, especially in New York and California, when authorized to do so by state and county officials.
Yes, business is tough for exhibition, especially as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo stands firm on not reopening cinemas, but AMC is planning to weather the storm, embracing those wide entries coming down the pike in October and November, i.e., 101 Studios’ War With Grandpa and Sony’s Yellow Rose this Friday, Open Road’s Honest Thief and Freestyle’s 2 Hearts on October 16, 20th Century Studios’ Empty Man on October 23, Focus/Amblin’s Come Play on October 30, Focus’ Let Him Go on November 6, Universal’s Freaky and Cloudburst’s The Comeback Trail on November 13, Disney’s Soul on November 20 and Universal/DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age and Sony’s The Happiest Season on November 25.
AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement, “We take great comfort in knowing that literally millions of moviegoers have already visited our theatres. They have done so in part because of our AMC Safe & Clean protocols, developed in consultation with Clorox and faculty of the Harvard University School of Public Health. Our guests are telling us that our theatres have never been cleaner, and that they recognize the great effort AMC is making to keep them healthy and safe.”
He added, “Fortunately for AMC, our groundbreaking agreement with Universal Studios announced earlier this summer puts AMC in a position where we can open our theatres when others may feel the need to close. We are fully comfortable showing Universal films in our theaters, even as they implement premium video on demand as we have mutually agreed. This is because AMC will share in premium revenues coming from their early availability in the home.”
Cineworld Boss Mooky Greidinger told Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione yesterday that Cuomo was squarely to blame when it came to the financial blow to cinemas in the U.S. Also, Cineworld and Regal are closing for an undefined amount of time until there’s more big studio product on the marquee and NYC and LA have the go-ahead to reopen. MGM moving No Time to Die from Thanksgiving this year to Easter weekend 2021 was the last straw for the No. 2 chain.
Regal in the pre-pandemic marketplace fueled 18% of the domestic box office. Sources say that share fell to about 13%-14% during the pandemic. Heading into the weekend, despite some 340-400 Regal locations being closed (of its 536 sites, the rest of the balance didn’t open during COVID-19), exhibition and distribution sources inform us that box office won’t necessarily be lost. That moviegoing business, which Regal was going to incur, will find its ways to a competitor, whether that’s an AMC or Cinemark venue in a local zone or another rival exhibitor. Essentially, less competition makes AMC, Cinemark and others potentially stronger.