COVID-19 Impact on Movie Theaters Hits Two Major Chains Hard
Cineworld, owners of Regal Theaters in the United States, and AMC Theaters are facing numerous challenges. Firstly, COVID-19 cases continue to rise once more in the U.S. and U.K., the latter of which is where Cineworld is based. Secondly, poor performance from movies released recently poses a financial burden on operations. Thirdly, we’ve just entered month eight of closures and canceled films. The COVID-19 impact on movie theaters seems to be reaching a fever pitch. Here’s the latest bad news from these two theater giants.
Cineworld, AMC Theaters Ravaged from COVID-19 Impact on Movie Theaters
AMC Theatres were reopening over 100 locations in August. Later in that same month, Regal Cinemas, the U.S. branch of theaters owned by Cinemax, did the same. Now, Regal theaters are closing once more and AMC stock prices are dropping 10%. The latter appears to be influenced by the former and news that Cineworld could close for good. At this time, there’s no official decision in relation to permanent closures. Still, it’s unnerving to see more bad news come to an industry ravaged by COVID-19. Like a lot of businesses, movie theaters are facing a two-pronged threat. Firstly, the actual public health concerns and issues that arise during a pandemic are tough to manage. Secondly, and more visibly from a PR point of view, is the perception of attending a movie theater during a pandemic. Many simply aren’t comfortable with it.
Whether or not Cineworld decides to close its U.S. theaters temporarily could influence AMC. The popularity of drive-ins and other non-traditional theater experiences will wane as colder temperatures arrive in much of the country. The movie theater industry might not survive this pandemic and it’s disheartening yet understandable. Of all the things to which people aren’t too eager to return, movie theaters are atop the list. Highly anticipated releases are getting delayed and some are moving to platforms like Disney Plus. With these trends looking to continue into 2021, the outlook is grim for theaters.
Relief and Recovery in the Face of Doom
Image Credit: Universal Pictures
Overall, AMC and Cineworld are facing an incredible challenge. As fans of the film-going experience here at Comic Years, this is a rough topic on which to report. Hopefully, the efforts to curb COVID-19 positivity can assist in the process. Like a lot of other issues stemming from the Coronavirus, public health is the answer. As communities become more and more comfortable with masking and the changed reality in which we live, some complacency occurs. It may become common for those who love the movie theater to just stop considering it an option. The only solution to this developing problem is the elimination of the virus. Spoiler alert: that’s not coming any time soon.
If I had the answers, then I’d share them. None of us know what the rest of 2020 will bring. The best approach from day one has been to follow the guidance of public health leaders. As the movie theater industry and plenty of others face losses, they too rely on individuals playing their part. Hopefully, for theaters we love and our own sake as a society, we’ll come together to speed up the recovery process by masking, distancing, and staying healthy.
Featured Image Credit: AMC Theaters
Taylor is the Gaming Editor of Comic Years and a lifelong fan of video games. He holds two degrees in Political Communication and wrote a Master's Thesis on resistance movements, race, and the exploitation of college athletes. His wife and two Toy Australian Sheppards keep him sane.