March 31, 2020
AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor with 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens, hopes to re-open domestic screens by mid-June, CEO Adam Aron told CNBC.
Speaking March 31, Aron said the industry remained on “uncharted times in our lifetimes,” while admitting to wishful thinking as the chain has seen revenue plummet to zero as local and state governments banned group gatherings of 10 or more people.
“The summer has always been one of the biggest movie seasons of the year … and Christmas,” Aron said. “I would love to think that America will be enjoying summer movie season again. But nobody knows.”
Aron said America needs to get on the “other side of this virus” as a country. “So many businesses have been temporarily shuttered. People want to get out of the house and get back to normal. But that’s not going to happen in the next few days or the next few weeks.”
China had initiated limited theatrical openings only to reverse the decision the next day when new cases of coronavirus popped up. Beijing’s Film Bureau ordered the 600 re-opened Shanghai theaters shuttered on March 27.
Aron said China’s reopening just 60 days after the virus broke out seemed “a little too tight,” when compared with AMC’s decision to shutter all screens on March 17 for six to 12 weeks.
The CEO said he saluted Congress for passing the $2.2 trillion relief bill, which he said would provide relief for AMC employees and “our communities.”
Aron believes the entertainment industry will bounce back quickly because “people want to be entertained.”
“The country is going to come back,” he said. “America will be normal again. We’re just going through an interruption. How quickly nobody knows. We’re all going to learn together.”