Back in mid-March, Regal Theaters announced they would be closing down operations because of the coronavirus and I was worried that it could be the end for some chains. Today, AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest chain announced that it might not survive if shutdowns continue for much longer.
All of AMC’s theaters are shut down through June, which means the company isn’t generating any revenue. AMC said it had enough cash to reopen its theaters this summer, as it plans to do. But if it’s not allowed to reopen, it will need more money, which it may not be able to borrow.
The company said that even when local governments allow theaters to reopen, AMC may still have problems if entertainment companies delay releasing new films.
“Due to these factors, substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” AMC wrote in a regulatory filing…
Cinemark, another major movie chain, plans to begin reopening U.S. movie theaters on June 19. It said in a Wednesday filing that it believes it has enough cash to last it the rest of the year, even if its theaters remain shut.
All of the theater chains are really at the mercy of two factors over which they have little control. The first is the concern patrons will have about the possibility of spreading the virus in crowded theaters. Even if they are given the okay from state and local governments to reopen, will anyone show up? I’d be tempted to go back just because I miss the experience but it would certainly be a different experience in light of the virus. It’s not really two hours of escapism if you’re thinking about the wheezy guy with no face mask in the row behind you.