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AMC CEO says reopening New York theaters is ‘a monumental step ahead’ for battered industry


Movie theaters, thrashed by the pandemic, acquired some hope after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced they may begin to reopen on Oct. 23.

The reopening doesn’t embody film theaters in New York City, however the gesture boosted AMC Entertainment’s inventory 17% in early buying and selling Monday. Cinemark was up round 11% and Marcus Theatres hovered round 2.5% increased.

“The news from Governor Cuomo on Saturday was a monumental step forward for the cinema industry,” AMC CEO Adam Aron stated on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday.

New York is an essential market for motion pictures. While it solely accounts for round 6% of whole ticket gross sales, it is a symbolic leisure hub. Movies that carry out nicely in New York can generate buzz and assist promote tickets in different elements of the nation. With its theaters closed to the general public, studios informed cinema house owners that they might not launch main blockbusters.

“AMC has been able to open our theaters across the country,” Aron stated. “Now that we can open in New York, New York state first, but that means New York City is right behind. That also means that the Christmas movies are going to hold.”

Theater house owners are hoping “Wonder Woman 1984” will stay on the calendar for Christmas Day. There are at the moment solely three main film releases set for the remainder of 2020, Warner Bros. “Wonder Woman 1984,” Universal’s “The Croods: A New Age” on Thanksgiving and 20th Century’s “Free Guy” in early December.

Theater operators are cautiously optimistic that these movies will not transfer into 2021, however need ensures from studios. They have ramped up security measures and advertising and marketing spending, solely to see movies get pushed to a brand new launch date.

New content material is very important to theater chains massive and small. Without new motion pictures, individuals are much less inclined to enterprise out to cinemas. Aron equated the situation to being a brand new automobile seller with none new vehicles to promote.

Over the weekend, Liam Neeson’s latest movie “Honest Thief” hauled in $3.7 million in North American ticket gross sales, making it the primary movie on the field workplace. For comparability, this time final yr, Disney launch “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” tallied greater than 10 instances that quantity.

“Like the airline industry, we’re doing a fraction of what we did a year ago, but the question is not what we were doing yesterday, it’s what will we be doing over the next three, six, nine months,” he stated. “I think finally with New York open, we can say our future is bright again.”

This is notably excellent news for AMC, which solely final week warned buyers {that a} mixture of lackluster attendance and restricted new motion pictures has left it in dire want of economic help. The firm has stated that it might run out of money by the tip of this yr or the start of subsequent except its circumstances change.

The largest cinema chain on the earth has been fundraising for months and has already renegotiated its debt as soon as earlier this yr to enhance its stability sheet. According to a submitting with the Securities and Exchange Commission final week, AMC is exploring plenty of methods of buying extra sources of liquidity.

It is additionally attempting to determine methods to extend attendance ranges, which have fallen 76% in contrast with final yr.

The firm’s inventory, which has a market worth of $332 million, has plunged practically 60% this yr.

Disclosure: Comcast is the guardian firm of NBCUniversal and CNBC.



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