AMC, the largest movie theatre chain in America, announced on Monday night that due to coronavirus, they would bus shutting down not just their locations in highly affected cities, but all cinemas nationwide. AMC, which operates nearly 1,000 theatres with 11,000 screens showing films, will all go dark for the next six to 12 weeks.
At first, AMC Theatres tried to stay open while complying with the national “social distancing” guidelines, and limit audiences to 50 people. But after President Trump announced stricter guidelines which only permits groups of 10 to gather during coronavirus, their website, now reads “All AMC Theatres are temporarily closed in accordance with local and federal guidelines. We will reopen when those guidelines allow.”
Earlier in the day, Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie chain in America, announced similar news. In a sweeping measure, instead of keeping certain theaters open in cities with low COVID-19 numbers, they’re shutting down all 543 theatres nationwide. Mooky Greidinger, CEO of Regal’s parent company Cineworld said, “It’s our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests. At this time, we have made the difficult decision to close our theaters.”
While Regal Cinemas remain closed until further notice, AMC Theatres was the first to give a time frame of their shut down. If closure time is expected to last 12 weeks, big blockbuster films set to release this summer will likely take a huge hit at the box office or be delayed altogether. Marvel’s Black Widow currently has a scheduled premiere date of May 1, but that is now likely to change.
Legally Blonde 3 is set to premiere on May 8, and Scoob! on May 15. Wonder Woman 1984 is scheduled to premiere worldwide on June 5. Other films already postponed include Disney’s Mulan, James Bonds’ latest No Time to Die, and Fast & Furious 8.
AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said:
“We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres. Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.”
Feature Films Are Being Released Early On Video Demand
Because most of the nation is being instructed not to leave their home for a minimum of 2 weeks, new films are being released early via On-Demand. AMC Theatre said in their statement, “to utilize AMC Theatres On Demand, which allows them to rent or buy movies from a selection of more than 3,500 titles, including recent and popular titles from every major studio.”
After Disney bumped up Frozen 2‘s streaming release, numerous other films have followed suit. On Monday, it was announced that The Hunt, The Invisible Man and Emma will be available on-demand by Friday.