COVID-19 has been especially tough on the movie business. Sell-out crowds and social distancing don’t mix. Regal Cinemas and CMX both have filed for bankruptcy, and AMC was on the edge of filing for Chapter 11 protection.
But on July 31, the world’s largest movie exhibition company, with 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens, restructured its debt and increased its liquidity by as much as $400 million. No bankruptcy filing was made and, on Aug. 20, in a nod to the Dubinsky brothers who founded the chain’s first theater in Kansas City in 1920, 100 AMC theaters will re-open selling tickets at that year’s price of 15 cents apiece.
“We are thrilled to once again open our doors to American movie-goers who are looking for an opportunity to get out of their houses and apartments and escape into the magic of the movies,” said AMC president and CEO Adam Aron.
About 300 more AMC theaters will re-open the following week. 2020 ticket prices will resume, though social distancing requirements will significantly reduce seating capacity. The company plans to have two-thirds of its more than 600 theaters in the United States open in time for the Sept. 3 release of the Warner Bros. movie “Tenet.” Theaters will also feature “The New Mutants” from Disney, which is set to be released on Aug. 28.
AMC has other promotions planned to welcome back customers. Among them is a “bring-back” series of event in which it will offer $5 tickets for showings of classics such as “Ghostbusters,” “Back to the Future,” “Black Panther” and “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.”