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Plans Theaters

AMC Theaters plans to reopen more than 100 locations in the US starting August 20th – The Verge

AMC Theaters has detailed its plans to reopen movie theaters throughout the US, in addition to a new deadline for its MoviePass-style A-List subscription, in an email sent to customers on Wednesday.

Starting August 20th, AMC plans to have more than 100 theaters open, and it says it will continue opening locations “such that about two-thirds of our theatres across the country should be open no later than September 3.” AMC has repeatedly delayed its reopening as spread of the coronavirus has caused massive spikes in positive cases in parts of the US that have started to ease restrictions.

The company, the largest theater chain in the country, operates around 600 theaters in the US. But AMC has faced significant challenges to its business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to forced closures and a near-standstill in Hollywood releases, causing AMC to furlough large swaths of its corporate workforce as it edged close to bankruptcy.

“The remaining AMC locations will open after we get further clearance from state and local authorities that it is safe to do so,” the company writes in an email sent to AMC A-List members. As part of its new safety measures, AMC says all staff and customers must wear masks, following a controversial remark from AMC CEO Adam Aron in June in which he suggested mask-wearing among customers would be encouraged but not mandatory.

The email says customers “can expect continuous extra cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic areas,” that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes would be widely available, and that AMC will “significantly limit seating capacity in our auditoriums.” The company claims it will use “high-tech HEPA vacuums” and “upgraded MERV 13 air filters wherever possible .”

Among the movies AMC plans to screen as part of its reopening include Disney’s The New Mutants starting August 28th and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet starting September 3rd. “As for library titles, we will be showing all of these beloved movies on the big screens of AMC: Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, Black Panther, Bloodshot, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Grease, I Still Believe, Jumanji: The Next Level, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.”

As for A-List, AMC’s subscription service that lets customers see up to three movies per week, the company says current subscribers who have had plans put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic now have until December 1st, 2020 to reactivate or cancel the membership. Starting on that day, AMC says it will begin charging customers again.

“Now, we have created the ability for you to control when your A-List membership is reactivated. You can choose to resume your A-List membership any time between now and December 1, 2020. We will send you an email when your favorite theatre is open and then, and only when you feel ready to return to our theatres, simply visit your account on our mobile app or website to reactivate your membership. Then, you will be able to start making A-List movie reservations immediately,” the email reads.

AMC says its customers can cancel at any time, and that it plans to communicate any changes to the subscription, including its plan to begin charging again, “well in advance.” The company says it is making a number of other changes to its A-List subscription designed to give the company more control over pricing changes.

For one, AMC says it is reducing the window in which it can make “program changes,” in other words price increases, from 90 days to 30 days starting December 1st. It’s also removing the ability to earn rewards points on the monthly subscription fee for A-List on that date, too. But AMC is guaranteeing that it will not raise the price of A-List, which costs anywhere from $19.95 to $23.95 a month depending on the market, until spring of next year.

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Movie Theaters

AMC movie theaters delay reopening — again – New York Post

July 23, 2020 | 1:37pm

AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, is delaying its reopening yet again as Hollywood studios push back the release of their planned summer blockbusters.

The company said Thursday that it won’t resume ticket sales at its US theaters until “mid-to-late August” due to the fact that there are no new movies to show. AMC had been planning on a phased reopening kicking off July 15 with the hope of being fully operational by July 24, but pushed back the plan July 30 late last month.

The latest delay comes just days after Warner Bros. indefinitely postponed the release of its big-budget spy film, “Tenet,” which had been slated to hit theaters on August 12. Warner Bros. cited spikes in coronavirus cases across the US for the move.

“This new timing reflects currently expected release dates for much anticipated blockbusters like Warner Bros.’ ‘Tenet’ and Disney’s ‘Mulan,’ as well as release dates for several other new movies,” the company in a statement.

Disney’s “Mulan,” the next blockbuster on the calendar, is slated for the big screen on August 21. Disney is also expected to delay release of the live-action reboot of the 1998 animated classic, which could force theaters, shuttered since mid-March, to remain closed for the entirety of the summer blockbuster season.

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reverses Theaters

AMC Theaters reverses course on masks after backlash – Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation’s largest movie theater chain changed its position on mask-wearing less than a day after the company became a target on social media for saying it would defer to local governments on the issue.

AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron said Friday that its theaters will require patrons to wear masks upon reopening, which will begin in mid-July. Customers who don’t wear masks won’t be admitted or allowed to stay.

“We think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests,” Aron said. “It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks.”

Rival chain Regal followed AMC’s lead. Spokesman Richard Grover said Friday that moviegoers must wear masks in all its theaters as well.

AMC Theaters wasn’t the first to say it would defer to officials on the mask issue. That policy was identical to what Cinemark announced earlier this month. Cineplex Inc., which has a 75% box office market share in Canada, said they will leave it up to moviegoers to decide if they wear a face mask inside their theaters. Company spokeswoman Sarah Van Lange said they are taking the lead from public health authorities and provincial guidelines. She said employees will be required to wear masks.

Most major retailers require masks for customers only where local rules mandate it.

But the AMC plan hit a nerve for many on Thursday and #boycottAMC quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.

The outrage was further flamed by one of Aron’s comments in an interview with the Hollywood trade Variety that implied that taking a hard stance on mask-wearing was a political matter.

“We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” Aron said. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”

He also said that he thought the “vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks” and that he planned to lead by example and would be wearing a mask himself.

The interview came on the same day that California started requiring people throughout the state to wear masks in most indoor settings and outdoors when distancing isn’t possible.

While public health officials say wearing a mask is important in helping stop the spread of COVID-19, not wearing one has become a political statement for people who say it violates their freedom or exaggerates the threat of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump has pushed back against masks, even as the virus has killed more than 100,000 Americans this year.

Full Coverage: Virus Outbreak

Earlier Friday, Alamo Drafthouse, which operates around 40 locations in the U.S. said that it would be requiring that guests wear masks at its theaters, with a caveat for eating and drinking. Those without masks, it said, would be given one. AMC plans to sell masks for $1.

Most indoor U.S. theaters have been closed since mid-March because of COVID-19. But both independent locations and major chains are readying to reopen within the next month.

AMC said it will open 450 of its U.S. locations on July 15, with the goal of having most of its theaters in operation by July 24 for the opening of Disney’s “Mulan” and Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” the following week.

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AP Business Writer Tali Arbel contributed from New York. Robert Gillies contributed from Toronto.

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