Though most movie theaters in the United States remain closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, AMC Theatres is starting to sweat just a little bit less than they were a few months ago. Rumors have circulated for months now about their potential future and the company has made headlines for countless other reasons too. In their recent quarterly earnings call with investors, President and Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron triumphantly said that the company has "survived the corona crisis." Speaking with regard to the company's available finances and how they're able to keep themselves afloat for the foreseeable future.
"A third of our theatres are open in Europe. We think all of our theatres (in Europe) will be open by Tenet’s August 26 release, and we ought to be able to open at least two thirds of our theatres this month in the United States," Aron said. "So, we’re not going to be shut.... I really do think that subject to never relying on a forward-looking statement, which is the good time to bring that up again. I think we’ve survived the corona crisis, and now we just have to get back to running the company really well."
Things will be very different for film fans when AMC Theatres do finally re-open though as the company previously outlined the health and safety measures that guests will need to comply with in order to enter, including a requirement to wear masks. The theater chain also expects that ticket prices could go up when they're able to open their doors once again, as Aron noted in the same call.
"On enhanced cleaning costs, they are sizeable," the CEO said. "I've seen others of our competitors’ state, what they think they are for their chains. We think they are appreciably higher in part. Because we're taking this so seriously, we've got electrostatic sprayers and HEPA vacuums and upgraded MERV 13 air filtration filters that are quadrupled the cost of what we had previously. We can't eat all these costs. Ultimately, we're going to have to pass these costs on the consumer."
AMC also raised eyebrows around the internet after reaching an agreement with Universal Pictures for shortening the theatrical window. Having previously blocked the exhibition of Universal's films, AMC now has a deal with the studio that requires Universal to have a 17-day exclusive window on theatrical releases before the studio can send them to VOD. The previous standard has been a 90-day period of theater exclusivity before home media release.
(Cover Photo Credit: George Rose/Getty Images)