Despite reports of some theaters resuming business as early as next week in some areas of the world, AMC Theaters issued a statement on Friday saying that they have no plans to open their doors until Hollywood is ready to distribute new product for the big screen. To put a tentative date on the matter, the first summer tentpole expected for release is Christopher Nolan‘s TENET on July 17, which is set to be followed by Disney’s live-action version of MULAN on July 24.
The theater group’s comment comes not long after the National Association of Theatre Owners, speaking on behalf of AMC and other companies, reinforced the intention to keep cinemas closed until such a time when shelter-in-place orders related to the coronavirus outbreak can be lifted.
“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, earlier today.
“While we expect to open our theaters in the weeks ahead of these new blockbusters, utilizing creative programming of immensely popular previously released films, we would be wise to do so only directly in advance of the release of major new movie titles,” the statement continued. “AMC is currently working through every detail required to successfully showcase these exciting new releases in an environment that’s safe and welcoming for moviegoers, and we will share those details as we get closer to the dates when our theaters will reopen.”
Upon the issuing of AMC’s statement, Cinemark Theaters CEO Mark Zoradi also threw down the gauntlet by saying that his chain will not resume standard operations until the summer out of concern for patrons and staff members alike.
The movie-going business has taken a major hit since the coronavirus pandemic triggered the closing of 5,500-plus theaters since March 20th. It’s to be understood that some theater chains might not make it through the ordeal, including AMC, who earlier this month announced a $500 million debt offering as part of a plan to avoid filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While much remains in flux at this time, these are indeed grim times for one of humankind’s most treasured social experiences; and by that of course, I mean going to the movies.
What do you think is a realistic time frame for theaters to reopen? Do you see us returning to cinemas before the close of 2020? Let us hear your thoughts and predictions in the comments section below.