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AMC Theatres postpones reopening in US amid ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-06-30 08:53
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Cast member Liu Yifei poses at the premiere for the film Mulan in Los Angeles, California, US, March 9, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

AMC Theatres, the largest US movie theater chain with Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group owning a majority stake, will postpone its reopening date by two weeks to July 30 amid the COVID-19 cases spike in the country, the company announced Monday.

"AMC will resume theatre operations at approximately 450 US locations on Thursday, July 30, and at approximately 150 remaining locations the following week in time for a theatrical slate commencing in August that appeals to audiences of every segment," said AMC in a press release.

"Slight pushback by two weeks of the US dates takes into account the newly scheduled release dates of Disney's MULAN and Warner Bros.' TENET," the company added.

The AMC said earlier this week in a phased reopening plan that it would resume theater operations at approximately 450 US locations on July 15, and at approximately 150 remaining locations on July 24.

Disney announced last week that its upcoming epic fantasy war drama film Mulan has been postponed again to Aug 21, shaking the confidence of US movie theater chain to reopen soon. The China-set live-action film was first scheduled to hit US theaters on March 27 but was later rescheduled to July 24 due to the pandemic.

Disney's announcement came one day after the decision of Warner Bros. to delay the release date for Christopher Nolan's Tenet for the second time. The spy film was pushed back from July 31 to Aug 12.

The COVID-19 pandemic is delivering blow after blow to the beleaguered US entertainment industry, as theaters are being closed and movie releases, film and TV shoots are being postponed or canceled across the country and internationally. Both Mulan and Tenet were considered to help theaters to welcome back moviegoers this summer amid the pandemic.

The AMC reported a net loss of $2.17 billion for the first quarter of the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said its attendance and revenues began to deteriorate in early March as "social distancing practices were initiated in the US in response to the ensuing COVID-19 global pandemic."

On March 17, in response to COVID-19 safety concerns for AMC's associates and guests, and in compliance with local, state and federal directives, the company suspended operations at all domestic and international theaters, resulting in virtually no revenue for the company for the last two weeks of the first quarter.

"We continue to devote extraordinary resources into our plan to operate our theatres with a hyper commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates, notably in the United States through our new AMC Safe & Clean initiative," said Adam Aron, CEO and president of the AMC.

"Our theatre general managers across the US started working full time again today and are back in their theatres gearing up to get their buildings fully ready just a few weeks from now for moviegoers," he noted.

Once the US reopening commences, the company will have theaters open in all countries in which AMC operates. The AMC said that it currently expects that at least some theaters in all the 14 countries in which the company operates outside the United States will have opened by July 30 as well, with a full global opening of theaters completed by early August.

Founded in 1920, the AMC is now the largest movie exhibition company in the United States, the largest in Europe and the largest throughout the world with approximately 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens across the globe.

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