AMC Theaters announced on Oct. 24 that it would show CNN’s election night coverage in 50 theaters in the United States — designating a “red” and a “blue” theater in each of 25 cities. It follows a move by the rival chain Regal Cinemas, which showed the final two presidential debates in more than 200 theaters across the country.
And they’re hardly alone: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a chain based in Austin, Tex., saw more than 7,000 people attend its debate screenings this fall, said John Smith, its social media director, and is planning for election night events as well. (The chain, famous for its zero-tolerance policy on cellphone use and talking during its screenings, relaxes those rules during the election events, he said.)
“You’ve got people in a room for two or three hours watching cable news together,” Mr. Smith said. It’s “one of the few times we can come together and watch something together.”
Elizabeth Frank, the chief content and programming officer for AMC Theaters, said the idea to open up the theaters for election night came out of a brainstorming session about a year ago. She said it would be “a fascinating opportunity to see our democracy at work.”