Mulan, possibly one of the first releases in the future of movie theaters. Image: Disney
Some places in the United States are already, against good sense, considering opening back up parts of the retail and consumer sector, even amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. But AMC Theatres won’t be one of them. At least not yet.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, AMC Theatres said Friday that it won’t re-open any of its locations until there’s something new to show. That is, specifically, until Hollywood studios are prepared to release films for theatrical showing.
“As we plan our reopening, the health and safety of our guests and associates is our absolute highest priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited about returning to their favorite movie theaters. Those blockbusters are scheduled to return this summer, beginning with Warner Brothers’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan, with many more major titles scheduled immediately thereafter,” AMC said in a statement.
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Those two films, Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s new joint, and Mulan, aren’t slated for release until July at the earliest—17th for Tenet and 24th for Mulan—and that could still be subject to change. In the statement, AMC cautioned that it would take a few weeks to open up theaters to full audience capacity and that the company would do so with the help of programming already released films. But that process won’t start happening unless there’s an incoming major release to justify it.
It makes sense: no matter how much some people may want it, businesses can’t re-open unless they have a product to sell and a reason to think people will want to come and buy it. For theaters, which sell proximity to other people as part of the whole deal, neither of those assurances exist yet. Even with all the good planning in the world, it’s difficult to know when they will.
Summer, though, does seem to be the goal, as according to THR Cinemark is setting a similar goal date. All told, roughly 5,500 theaters are closed across the country, affecting 150,000 cinema workers and putting entities like AMC, which were already in major debt before the coronavirus arrived, in a very tenuous position.
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