Warner’s ‘Tenet’ Eyeing Second Major Weekend Box Office as AMC Re-Opens 70% of Domestic Screens

Following a surprise opening box office weekend (Aug. 26-30) of $53 million outside the United States and China, Warner Bros.’ Tenet got a boost Sept. 1 when AMC Theatres announced that 70% of domestic screens would be open for business this weekend — including screens in California. Regal Cinemas and Cinemark are re-opening screens as well in key markets.

The return of the domestic  and global box office is key to Hollywood returning to movie production and titles being released into retail channels, including transactional VOD and packaged media.

By this weekend AMC will have resumed operations at approximately 420 theatres nationwide. AMC will open more than 140 theaters this week, with the vast majority of re-openings taking place on Thursday, Sept. 3, the same day director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet opens in the United States.

The next day, Friday, Sept. 4, AMC expects its first California theaters to reopen, when it resumes operations at seven theaters in and around San Diego. AMC is closely monitoring all local directives and will follow all guidelines on auditorium capacity.

AMC expects to make announcements about additional markets in California, New Jersey and other areas of the country in the coming weeks, once theatres are authorized to open by state and local officials.

“The first two weekends of operations have exceeded our expectations in terms of guests returning to the movies and in terms of their feedback about our extensive ‘AMC Safe & Clean’ policies and procedures,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

Cinemark Theaters to Reopen Beginning Aug. 14

Cinemark Holdings announced the reopening of its theaters closed due to the pandemic beginning Aug. 14 and continuing through Aug. 28.

All theaters will reopen with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols, according to the company.

Tickets are on sale now for Unhinged and the anniversary re-release of Inception. Tickets will go on sale for The New Mutants on Aug. 18 and The Personal History of David Copperfield on Aug. 19. Tickets for Tenet will go on sale very soon, the company announced.

“Cinemark is thrilled to once again welcome moviegoers across the U.S. to enjoy the unparalleled immersive experience of watching movies on the big screen. Through our very successful test-and-learn theaters, we have heard firsthand from moviegoers that we are truly setting The Cinemark Standard by providing the out-of-home entertainment experience they have been craving in a way that makes them feel protected,” Mark Zoradi, Cinemark CEO, said in a statement. “Furthermore, we have been extremely pleased with the results of our 15 test-and-learn theaters across the U.S., which have consistently been top performers among the 500-plus indoor theaters opened. These strong results, coupled with consumer feedback, underscore that moviegoing is a favorite global pastime, and our teams are trained and prepared to safely welcome guests back to the cinema.”

Additional information on Cinemark’s reopening can be found at www.cinemark.com.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Prior to the newest films hitting the big screen, Cinemark will showcase classics such as The Goonies, Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Pricing for the Comeback Classics is $5 per adult and $3 for children and seniors. There will also be reduced pricing on popcorn and candy and fountain and bottle drinks.

Follow us on Instagram

Employees will undergo safety and sanitization training prior to reopening and will wear face masks and gloves while working. All will complete a wellness check-in prior to every shift. Each theater will also have a designated Chief Clean and Safety Monitor on duty to ensure Cinemark’s standards of safety, physical distancing, cleanliness and sanitization are met.

  • Each auditorium will be extensively disinfected every morning and again between showtimes using pressurized sprayers with products identified by the EPA to be effective in eliminating COVID-19.
  • Theaters will have staggered showtimes and limited capacities to maximize physical distancing.
  • Seat-Buffering Technology will automatically block seats adjacent to a party upon ticket purchase.
  • Face masks will be mandatory for all guests within the theater and may only be removed for eating and drinking in the auditoriums. Face masks and gloves will be required for all employees.
  • Cinemark is raising the fresh air rate by adding refresh and replace cycles and utilizing supply fans to increase total volume of fresh, outside air flowing into theaters.
  • Cinemark vacuums are equipped with HEPA filters.
  • All public and high-touch spaces will be thoroughly sanitized every 30 minutes.
  • Seat wipes and hand sanitizer will be available for customer use.
  • Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets online and use contactless payment methods for a more contact-free experience. With that, cash payments options will be limited.

 

The expiration date of all points for Cinemark Movie Rewards members that expired during the time theaters were closed will be extended to Dec. 31. Members of the Cinemark Movie Club, the exhibitor’s monthly in-theater membership program, will be able to see three Comeback Classics, with a guest, for free and will enjoy their standard 20% concessions discount on top of the welcome back pricing.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark, comprised of various brands that also include Century, Tinseltown and Rave, operates 534 theaters with 5,977 screens globally (332 theaters and 4,522 screens across 41 states domestically; 202 theaters and 1,455 screens in 15 countries throughout South and Central America).

Cinemark CEO No Fan of Shortened Theatrical Window

Following AMC Theatres’ landmark decision to allow Universal Pictures to distribute movies into consumer homes just 17 days after their theatrical debut, rival chain Cinemark is questioning the move indirectly.

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark operates 554 theaters and 6,132 screens in the U.S. and Latin America. Speaking on the Aug. 4 fiscal call, CEO Mark Zoradi said theatrical exclusivity for new studio movies must be maintained despite the current COVID-19 environment that has seen the exhibition business shuttered since mid-March.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Saying the company wouldn’t comment on the strategies of its rivals, Zoradi said an exclusive theatrical window is critically important to the industry.

“While we have publicly stated that we’re willing to have conversations with our studio partners to evolve windows, we’re mindful that an overly aggressive shortened theatrical window could have an adverse impact to the mid-to-tail-end of a film’s life,” he said.

Follow us on Instagram

Key to the AMC/Universal deal is the exhibitor’s revenue-sharing agreement on sales/rentals of titles into the home entertainment market.

Mindful of incremental revenue possibilities via transactional VOD following a fiscal quarter that saw Cinemark generate just $37,000 in ticket sales over 90 days, Zoradi said he remains open to change during the pandemic and beyond.

“We will be very careful and methodical about how we approach any change to the theatrical windows,” he said. “We continue to carefully analyze and research this matter. And we will endeavor to ensure any modifications are in the best interests of the overall industry, our company and our shareholders.”

Cinemark Delays Re-Opening Movie Screens to July 24

Cinemark June 30 announced it would delay the phased reopening of its U.S. theatres to July 24 as a result of recent shifts in new studio content — and spikes in coronavirus infections. The Dallas-based chain will open screening select studio classics and elevated cleaning and safety standards.

Cinemark, with 555 theatres and 6,145 screens in 41 states domestically and 15 countries throughout South and Central America, plans to begin screening new-release movies on July 31 with Solstice Studios’ Unhinged, starring Russell Crowe, and Sony Pictures’ The Broken Hearts Gallery with Selena Gomez on Aug. 7, followed by Warner Bros.’ Tenet on Aug. 12, Disney’s Mulan on Aug. 21, Orion Pictures’ Bill & Ted Face the Music on Aug. 28, and Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II on Sept. 4.

Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said Cinemark’s initial five-theater test-and-learn phase in the Dallas area went well, suggesting similar results nationwide.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Our multi-phased reopening plan was thoughtfully designed with multiple contingencies in place that enable us to efficiently adapt to today’s ever-changing environment,” Zoradi said. “We continue to pay close attention to status of the virus, local mandates and availability of new content while prioritizing the health and safety of our guests, employees and communities.”

Indeed, all Cinemark theaters will boast “The Cinemark Standard” upon reopening with greatly enhanced cleanliness, sanitizing and safety measures. Each theater will also have a designated “Chief Clean and Safety Monitor” on duty to ensure standards of safety, physical distancing, cleanliness and sanitization.

Cinemark Stresses Virus Protocols Ahead of Theater Re-Openings

With Cinemark set to re-open five theatrical locations June 19 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, the national chain is going to great lengths to convey to uncertain moviegoers its screens are safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cinemark, like AMC Theatres and Regal Cinema, has been shuttered since the outbreak of COVID-19. All three chains are re-opening the majority of domestic screens in July. Consumer response to movie theaters is seen by many as a harbinger to mass spectator events such as sports, conventions and music concerts returning to normal.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“While Cinemark already takes significant precautions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, guests and communities, we have developed The Cinemark Standard for an extra level of cleaning and sanitizing that guests will notice from the moment they walk back through our doors,” CEO Mark Zoradi said in a video statement. “Our teams are trained, prepared and eager to once again entertain movie lovers in an environment that cannot be replicated in-home.”

Indeed, Cinemark said its theaters are “thoroughly sanitized at least every 30 minutes.” It claims to have added an “extra level of cleaning & sanitizing” that meets or exceeds CDC and WHO guidelines. This includes using products identified by the EPA to be effective in eliminating COVID-19 throughout the theater.

Follow us on Instagram

Any seat that is occupied will be sanitized again before the next showtime, as well as adjacent seats, handrails and children’s booster seats. For extra assurance, seat wipe dispensers are available for any guest who wishes to re-clean their seat.

Cinemark is adding a morning “purge cycle” that increases the total volume of fresh, outside air flowing into its theatres. Additionally, the chain is utilizing supply fans constantly while occupied, enabling more fresh air from outdoors to moviegoers inside.

The chain is also using vacuums equipped with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters identified to be effective in trapping at least 99.97 percent of microscopic particles, including the coronavirus.

Pachter: People Aren’t ‘Dying’ to See a Movie in Theaters

NEWS ANALYSIS — Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter remains bearish on the movie theater business, arguing exhibitors’ aggressive plans to re-open screens during a lull in the coronavirus pandemic is wishful thinking.

A return to moviegoing would in turn help studios market retail sales of DVD/Blu-ray Disc and digital titles — despite the fact home entertainment has fared well during the pandemic due to a larger segment of population being housebound.

Specifically, Pachter is talking about Cinemark, which plans to re-open select screens on June 19, with a national re-opening slated for July 10. Plano, Texas-based Cinemark Holdings, which closed all of its theaters on March 18 due to the virus, operates 554 theaters and 6,132 screens in the U.S. and Latin America.

“People may be eager to visit the theaters once they feel safe doing so, but we think it is unlikely crowds will return to any semblance of normal before a vaccine is widely distributed, particularly in urban and suburban markets,” Pachter wrote in a June 3 note.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Cinemark June 3 reported first-quarter (ended March 31) domestic admissions revenue per screen was down 25.7% from the previous-year period — and up slightly (0.7%) from the domestic industry box office decline of 25.4%. For the full quarter, Cinemark attendance fell 29% to 27.9 million, while the average ticket price increased by 4% year-over-year.

In Cinemark’s Latin American circuit, admissions revenue per screen declined 32.1% in Q1, which included a 16% negative impact from currency translation and a 26% year-over-year decline in attendance per screen.

Pachter contends that with 30% of moviegoers older than 50 (according to the MPAA in 2018), a significant portion of middle-age consumers are not going to be bold enough to return to theaters. In addition, about 40% of moviegoers are under 30 years of age and losing a portion of this demo could result in studios and exhibitors delaying more releases until a vaccine is found.

“As we face a potential spike in cases nationwide after some seemingly premature re-opening schedules in addition to nationwide protests, we are less sanguine than Cinemark management that enough of the population will risk their health to support the current release slate schedule starting in July,” Pachter wrote.

He estimates the domestic industry box office will end 2020 down 97.8% from 2019, with most domestic screens likely remaining closed beyond the end of the quarter.

“Theatrical exhibition is in the middle of a perfect storm,” Pachter wrote. “Theater closures not only deplete cash reserves and sources of liquidity, but may alter consumer behavior indefinitely.”

Pachter: Movie Theaters Can Profit on 20% Capacity; Industry to Lose $2.25 Billion in 2020

With movie theaters worldwide shuttered due to the coronavirus, domestic exhibitors in the second quarter are expected to lose upwards of 92% of their revenue in the current fiscal quarter compared with the previous-year period, according to Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. The industry is projected to lose $2.25 billion in 2020.

The analyst contends the industry is facing a “perfect storm” of challenges that render it a sitting duck without some kind of government assistance. Buy how essential movie theaters are in a world of digital distribution and streaming remains to be seen.

“Those screens that open as early as June will likely show classic tent-poles at a discount to drive attendance,” Pachter wrote in an April 15 note.

Major summer titles are slated to hit theaters beginning in mid-July. Several films have yet to be rescheduled, and it is not yet clear which will be pushed to later in the year, 2021 or later. It’s also not clear how many titles will move straight to SVOD facing a dearth of content as productions have halted across the industry with stay-at-home orders in place.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Citing Cinemark’s investor call, Pachter said the chain (and possibly the industry as well) has received positive news from theater landlords willing to “negotiate a deferral of rent under a variety of contract agreements.”

Indeed, media reports say AMC Theatres has already told landlords it cannot pay the rent on its 11,000 screens worldwide. The chain is reportedly in early Chapter 11 discussions.

“This could be a significant positive as the exhibitors’ ability to weather the closures depends to varying degrees on the flexibility of landlords,” Pachter wrote.

The analyst contends that when theaters re-open and social distancing seating is mandated, exhibitors could still be profitable with theater utilization as low as 20% to 30%.

“That’s tertiary positive, at least for Cinemark if not for the group, which bodes well in the case where social distancing is upheld for an extended period,” Pachter wrote.

Cinemark Acquiring $250 Million in New Debt

Its rival may be headed to bankruptcy, but Cinemark Holdings April 13 announced that its theatrical subsidiary is seeking $250 million in new private security debt — exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 — to be repaid by 2025.

The country’s third-largest movie exhibitor said the new bonds would be guaranteed by its subsidiaries and would be used for general corporate purposes, including further increasing its liquidity.

Follow us on Instagram

Headquartered in Plano, Texas, Cinemark operates 554 theaters with 6,132 screens in 42 states domestically and 15 countries throughout South and Central America. It also operates Movie Club, the first U.S. exhibitor-launched subscription ticket program aimed at competing against now-shuttered MoviePass.

AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor, has reportedly sought legal advice from bankruptcy law firms as it struggles to sustain operations with zero revenue. The chain recently furloughed 600 executives, including CEO Adam Aron.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Survey: Consumers Willing to Pay $22 Monthly to See Three Theatrical Movies Monthly

As theatrical ticket subscription pioneer MoviePass struggles to remain in business, a new survey reveals consumers are willing to pay more than twice the $9.95 fee MoviePass currently charges subscribers.

The survey conducted Oct. 11-14 among 2,201 adults from Morning Consult and commissioned by The Hollywood Reporter, found respondents would pay upwards of $22 monthly to watch three theatrical screenings monthly.

Respondents said they would also pay $25 to see three movies per week, and $33 for unlimited screenings.

MoviePass set the exhibition industry on its ear last year when it launched service offering subscribers daily access to a theatrical screening for less than $10 per month. With the service paying exhibitors such as AMC Theatres and Regal Cinema face value for each ticket consumed by subscribers, fiscal losses began to spiral out of control.

MoviePass now limits subs to three select screenings per month. Restrictions that resulted in AMC and Cinemark launching competing ticket subscriptions – the former priced at $19.95 enabling subs access to three screening weekly in any format, including Imax, Dolby Cinema and RealD 3D.

Three in 10 frequent moviegoers subscribe to AMC Stubs A-List, while 27% subscribe to MoviePass.

Notably, the survey revealed that just 6% of respondents are “very likely” to purchase a subscription service, while 23% could go either way. That left 71% of respondents who said they were either not very likely (32%) to purchase a subscription or had no interest (29%) in buying one. Another 10% didn’t know or had no opinion.

Millennials are the most likely to purchase a ticket subscription.

According to the survey, perks that would incentivize consumers to use a subscription service include: unused tickets rolling over to the next month (22%); ability to choose from a variety of plans/theaters (19%); the number of movies included (15%); and the ability to use subscription tickets to bring friends (25%).

 

Analyst Calls MoviePass’ $128.7 Million Oscar Box Office Contribution Claim Disingenuous

When upstart MoviePass recently announced it had contributed $128.7 million in box office for select Oscar-nominated films, it appeared to underscore both market demand and importance of a theatrical ticket subscription service.

Upon closer scrutiny, it was reported that the box office for Oscar nods Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, The Post, I, Tonya and The Square had combined ticket sales of $17 million.

MoviePass then clarified the Feb. 7 press release, saying the service accounted for $31.4 million in additional Oscar-nominated film ticket sales, bring the total impact to $48.5 million.

When combined with $110 million tickets bought through the service – MoviePass pays exhibitors for every ticket purchased – since August 2017, and another $80.2 million in tickets by friends of MoviePass subscribers, total contribution reached $128.7 million.

Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter said the revised $48.5 million tally seems reasonable. The analyst contends MoviePass should only count tickets purchased by subscribers, and perhaps its subscribers’ friends will join as well if compelled to do so.

“The $128.7 million figure seemed impossible,” Pachter wrote in a Feb. 12 note. “It is simply disingenuous.”

The analyst contends MoviePass, which just topped 2 million subs, is trying to secure concession revenue sharing agreements with major chains AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Regal Cinemas, including $3 ticket price cuts.

MoviePass recently blocked access to select high-priced theaters in Manhattan, N.Y. in order to cut down on costs.

Cinemark operates its own subscription service, Movie Club.

“[While] MoviePass is surely saving significantly by blocking attendance at AMC’s 10 highest-cost national locations, it’s just a matter of time before AMC and Regal launch their own subscription services,” Pachter wrote.