Updated: As the first big movie theater chain to publically address the coronavirus situation in the U.S., AMC Theatres announced today that they’re reducing capacity in each of their auditoriums by at least 50% starting tomorrow Saturday, March 14 and continuing until April 30, 2020.
As the largest theater chain in the U.S., one would think there would be a great downturn at the box office. Studio sources tell me, no, as odd as that sounds. Essentially, there are fewer films in the marketplace, and if there’s a situation where a title were to say sell at full capacity, half of that crowd could be shifted to another auditorium that’s not selling as well with another title.
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The chain will do so by capping ticket sales for each showtime in each of its theatre’s auditoriums to an amount equal to 50% of the normal seating capacity. In those auditoriums with more than 500 seats, AMC will further cap ticket sales to a maximum of 250 in any case. AMC is also actively complying with all local authorities’ directives on social gathering and is further reducing the availability of tickets to comply with any current or future federal, state or local governmental order.
AMC theatre also ensured today that they’re adhering to “stringent health and safety cleaning protocols’ that have been enhanced “to ensure that at least once per hour within an AMC building, the theatre team is cleaning hightouch point areas, including kiosks, counter tops, restroom areas, glass, handrails and doorknobs.” The chain also promised that they clean every auditorium between every showtime.
Adam Aron, CEO and President, AMC Theatres, said: “The health and safety of our guests and theatre teams are of the utmost importance to AMC. Therefore, AMC is proactively taking action to cut in half the number of tickets that we will make available at all our U.S. theatres. With this action, we are facilitating the ‘social distance’ between guests who still want to see movies on a big screen.”
Aron added, “These are uncharted times in the United States. We are very closely monitoring the guidance of the CDC. We are complying with all directives from federal, state and local health and government authorities, and with our unilateral move to reduce capacity and increase social distancing we are going beyond what governments are requiring of us. Founded in 1920, AMC Theatres has a proud history that spans 100 years. As we enter our second century, AMC remains firmly committed to offering a clean, healthy, entertaining environment every time our guests come to movies at our theatres.”
In the wake of the major studios’ pulling big releases from the spring and summer calendar, i.e. A Quiet Place Part II, Mulan and F9, exhibition stocks have been getting hammered with AMC trading at $2.94 this afternoon, +1.2%. The chain’s 52 week high was trading at $17 a share.
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