AMC Theatres Limiting Capacity

AMC Theaters has released its plans to reopen theaters in the U.S., with an aim to open two-thirds of its locations by the date of Tenet‘s U.S. theatrical release. Starting August 20, AMC plans to open more than 100 theaters, and continue opening locations “such that about two-thirds of our theatres across the country should be open no later than September 3.”

AMC Theaters has detailed its reopening plans in an email to customers sent Wednesday. The company, the largest theater chain in the country, plans to open 100 of its 600 theaters in the U.S. starting August 20, with more locations joining them until two-thirds of its theaters are open by September 3, the U.S. theatrical release date for Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated blockbuster Tenet. But a fair few theaters will be open by the time 20th Century Studios’ New Mutants hits theaters on August 28, which will be one of the few new releases AMC plans to screen as part of its reopening.

The company writes in an email sent to AMC A-List members:

We already have opened more than half of our theatres in Europe and the Middle East, safely and without incident, and will open all by August 26. Here in the United States, we will begin opening AMC with more than 100 theatres resuming operations on August 20, and continuing such that about two-thirds of our theatres across the country should be open no later than September 3. The remaining AMC locations will open after we get further clearance from state and local authorities that it is safe to do so.

AMC had repeatedly delayed its reopening as coronavirus (COVID-19) cases spiked in parts of the U.S. that had begun to ease restrictions. The company had borne the brunt of the economic effects of the pandemic, which had forced the closures of businesses and brought Hollywood to a halt, furloughing large portions of its workforce and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The chain also faced criticism after AMC CEO Adam Aron suggested masks be encouraged but not mandatory for customers, causing the company to reverse course and require masks for all staff and customers.

In addition, customers “can expect continuous extra cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic areas,” that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes would be widely available, and that AMC will “significantly limit seating capacity in our auditoriums,” per the email. The company claims it will use “high-tech HEPA vacuums” and “upgraded MERV 13 air filters wherever possible.”

AMC is also offering a December deadline for AMC A-List customers to either reactivate or cancel their memberships. Starting December 1, 2020, AMC says it will begin charging again for the subscription service that allows customers to see up to three movies a week — a plan the company had put on hold during the pandemic. AMC says its customers can cancel at any time and that it plans to communicate any changes to the subscription “well in advance.” The company also guarantees that upon reopening,  “A-List pricing will remain unchanged, and we hereby are further guaranteeing that there will be no A-List price increase anytime before late spring of 2021.” However, AMC is removing the ability to earn rewards points and it is reducing the window in which it can make “program changes” (AKA price increases) from 90 days to 30 days.

AMC is also providing a price incentive for customers to walk in their doors before new releases like New Mutants and Tenet hit. The company is offering retro ticket prices of 15 cents per movie for catalog titles like Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, Black Panther, Bloodshot, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Grease, I Still Believe, Jumanji: The Next Level, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

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