AMC Theatres And Cinemark Will Not Close Their Doors Like Regal Cinemas

Earlier this week, Cineworld made the decision to not only close all of their Regal Cinemas locations in the United States (the second largest chain here), but all of their theaters in the United Kingdom. It's due to the fact that No Time to Die fled from being released in theaters in November and opted for a safer release in April 2021, leaving Soul and The Croods 2 as the only major studio releases over the next two months. But not all the theater chains are quite so concerned.

Both AMC Theatres and Cinemark have pledged to stay open, despite the lack of new movies to show and the uncertainty over when movie theaters in New York City and Los Angeles will be allowed to reopen. Considering how desperate of a situation these chains seemed to be in earlier this year, that's quite a surprising development.

Cinemark Won't Be Closing Theaters

Yesterday, Cinemark was first to announce that they would not be following in the footsteps of Regal Cinemas by temporarily closing their doors. But it sounds like they might be changing their hours of operation instead. A representative for the theater chain said this in a statement (via Deadline):

"Cinemark's reopening plan was designed with multiple contingencies in place to ensure we are able to be nimble and react as needed to this ever-changing environment. We do not currently have plans to close our U.S. theatres and are continuing to align with demand, including reducing operating hours and days while we await new studio content to encourage theatrical moviegoing."

No specifics were given as to when operating hours might change, but I'd expect an announcement about that in the near future since the October slate of new theatrical releases looks pretty dismal. The "biggest" movie currently scheduled for release is the family comedy War with Grandpa starring Robert De Niro. Yikes.

Cinemark is in a unique position as they don't have any movie theaters in New York City, so the fact that movie theaters aren't open there doesn't really hurt them. They only have one Cinemark theater in Rochester, New York. Otherwise, they have 80% of their 332 locations around the United States open. In fact, three of their theaters were among the top 10 locations for Tenet's box office totals.

Perhaps the theater chain is benefiting from their Private Watch Parties, which allow moviegoers to rent out an entire auditorium for up to 20 people. Prices range from $99 to $150 depending on your market and which movie you and your group wants to watch, and it guarantees that only you and those you know will be in the theater with you. I personally partook in this deal in order to see Tenet on the big screen, and it was an extremely satisfying and safe experience. It's just a shame that there probably won't be any big new movies to take advantage of that deal again.

AMC Theatres Is Staying Open Too

Cinemark isn't the only movie theater chain standing strong in the face of uncertainty. AMC Theatres announced today that they will be staying open as well. Like Cinemark, more than 80% of AMC's theaters are open in the United States, and even more are open across the world with 90% of their locations reopened in Europe and 100% of their theaters up and running in the Middle East. They're just waiting for the greenlight from New York and Los Angeles to open even more of their US locations.

AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement (via Deadline):

"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."

Since AMC has a number of locations in New York and Los Angeles, how are they able to stay afloat? Well, they're crediting the controversial and unprecedented new deal that they struck with Universal Pictures that will shorten the theatrical release window for some of their movies from three months to three weeks. Adam Aron continued:

"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 was particularly upset about the deal that AMC Theatres struck with Universal, but they might be kicking themselves for not doing the same. Then they might have been able to avoid closing so many theaters for an undetermined amount of time. At the same time, a deal like that could end up hurting the theatrical exhibition industry more than helping it, especially if a bunch of movie theaters are forced to closer permanently after the threat of the coronavirus pandemic finally starts to disappear once there's a safe vaccine available.

We'll keep you posted on the state of movie theaters as time goes on.