AMC Hoping to Entice Movie Watchers Back in July
Theme parks across the country are opening back up, and many people are flocking to them — but what about other entertainment venues that depend on crowds to make a profit? In at least one case, that question will soon be answered. AMC Theaters, the world’s largest movie theater company, recently released a statement saying they planned to reopen 1,000 theaters soon.
If that comes to pass, it will be the first time since March 17 that anyone watched a movie in an AMC theater. They said: “The company is looking forward to welcoming guests to its theatres as soon as it is safe and wise to do so… as well as being permissible under local, state, and federal guidelines…”
That announcement comes close behind a previous statement in which AMC representatives said the company had “substantial doubts” about its operational sustainability if pandemic-related closures stretched on. This was evidenced by the first quarter earnings report, which showed AMC lost more than two billion dollars as revenues fell 22% compared to the same period in the previous year.
AMC CEO Adam Aron called this situation an indication of “truly unprecedented times” adding, “After starting the year with two solid months of revenue growth compared to last year, in mid-March, we were forced to pivot the entire company to respond to the effects of the pandemic…”
Now, though, the company hopes to rebound as some states are already allowing theaters to open, and others plan to do so soon. That could mean AMC will soon put their theaters back on a paying basis… that is, if they can get moviegoers to show up. Which leads to at least two major challenges: AMC must convince people who have become accustomed to streaming movies at home that there is still worthwhile value in spending more for the theater experience, and they need to convince these people that it’s safe to attend a movie in their theaters.
Speaking to those concerns, Aron said: “The safety and well-being of our guests and associates remain our top priority…” and about the company’s future, he added, “(We) are taking sweeping actions to preserve the long-term viability of AMC Entertainment… We are confident we are taking the necessary steps…to ensure future success.”
The question remains, though, what will AMC say to convince moviegoers to take what they may see as a risk to go see a movie? The company will need to reaffirm the value of the “going to see a movie” experience in a world full of large smart TVs and home theaters. And, they will need to give customers enough details about their safety plan to ensure them that being in the theater will not expose them to undue risk of contracting the virus.
There is no doubt that some people are ready for getting out and getting back to life how it used to be, so AMC should find a receptive audience. It will be interesting to see how they connect with them.