AMC Theatres to Open 87% of Domestic Screens by Oct. 16

With its fiscal future on the line, AMC Entertainment, the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, Oct. 8 announced that 14 AMC Theatres in the state of Washington will resume operations on Oct. 16. Washington is among 45 U.S. states in which AMC Theatres will have screens open for moviegoers.

Following re-openings in California, Michigan and North Carolina, AMC expects to have more than 520 of its approximately 600 theaters operating within eight days.

In areas where theaters are not yet able to open, AMC said it would continue to have discussions with local authorities about resuming operations. AMC will reopen its remaining theatrical footprint once authorized to do so by state and local officials.

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CEO Adam Aron, in a statement, reiterated the sanitation safety protocols AMC has embraced to assure moviegoers are safe as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The feedback we’ve received from our guests indicate that our policies and protocols are working exactly as intended,” Aron said. “We’re seeing record-high guest scores for the cleanliness of our theaters, far exceeding the marks we’ve received in the decades we’ve been tracking guest feedback.”

With studios pushing releases of most major titles until 2021 or beyond, how long exhibitors can ride out the COVID-19 storm remains to be seen. Regal Cinemas, the No. 2 chain in the country, is set to re-shutter all U.S. and U.K. screens for the foreseeable future, beginning today.

Director Patty Jenkins, whose $200 million production Wonder Woman 1984 is still set to release on Christmas Day — following three previous delays — contends the exhibition business model is facing extinction.

“This will not be a reversible process. We could lose movie theater-going forever,” Jenkins told Reuters.

Meanwhile, returning AMC moviegoers can expect to see new releases such as The War With Grandpa, starring Robert De Niro, and Yellow Rose, which open Oct. 9 in the United States. Other pending titles include Honest Thief and 2 Hearts on Oct. 16, The Empty Man on Oct. 23, Come Play on Oct. 30, Let Him Go on Nov. 6, Freaky and The Comeback Trail on Nov. 13, Soul on Nov. 20, and The Croods: A New Age and Happiest Season on Nov. 25, as well as local-language films in certain countries outside the United States.

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