The worlds leading exhibitor, AMC, announced on Tuesday that it will be keeping most screens around the U.S. and the world open. The company further stated that it has plans to open even more cinemas across the U.S. once a firmer grip is had on the Coronavirus pandemic in certain States.
So far 100% of AMC locations in the Middle East are open, over 90% across Europe and more than 80% in the U.S.
The statement comes after AMC’s main competitor, Cineworld, announced the closure of all of its 700 locations across the U.S. and the U.K., putting over 45,000 jobs at risk and affecting AMC’s share prices which dropped 10%. Cineworld’s share price had a much heavier hit with prices sinking by, at most, 60% on Monday.
The Government enforced rules throughout the pandemic have made it particularly difficult for theater chains to survive as major film releases have subsequently been pushed back to allow for maximum impact in the viewing marketplace.
Upcoming James Bond film, No Time To Die, is a key example of why Cineworld has recently decided to shutter. The 25th installment of the franchise was first delayed from April 2020 to November 2020 and has now been further delayed to April 2nd 2021.
Even before the pandemic, between the industries best sales in 2002 all the way up to 2019, the number of movie tickets sold dropped by 22%. Per-capita in the same timeframe sales dropped by 31% worldwide.
In September, Warner Bros. released sought after Christopher Nolan film Tenet, with the release at first being delayed – once again – due to the pandemic.
Unfortunately, both the market, and cinema-goers were still reeling from the overall effect of Coronavirus and with a 30% drop in cinemas open in the U.S., and a capacity limit per screen of 25-40%, the film – with a budget of $200m – grossed only $45m in the U.S. and Canada and overall has made $308m worldwide so far. The Observer reported that with marketing costs the film would need to make in the region of $450-500m to break even.
Off the back of Tenet, Warner Bros. moved the release of Wonder Woman 1984 from October to Christmas Day and Disney
As previously reported, and to make matters worse for cinema chains, studios are starting to sell a multitude of their titles to online platforms, bypassing cinemas completely.
New film Mulan, for example, went straight to Disney’s own streaming service Disney+.
AMC CEO and president Adam Aron said on the state-of-affairs, “Fortunately for AMC, our groundbreaking agreement with Universal Studios
“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.”
More innovation and development will need to be implemented in order to avoid a further revenue collapse of an already damaged industry.