Hollywood may have resumed filming in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that recovery has not been extended to movie theaters. Major American cinema chains have seen their revenue plummet. Regal recently announced that it would be closing its 536 multiplexes indefinitely. Meanwhile, though AMC has reopened a majority of its domestic theaters, its revenue during its latest quarter declined nearly 91%. And without federal help, many smaller cinemas are facing bankruptcy and closure.
The largest movie theater chain in America is AMC, with 634 theaters nationwide. Earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic in March, as it was shutting down a majority of its movie theaters, AMC also had to lay off or furlough 26,000 workers and 600 people in its corporate offices. Then in the summer, as movie theaters reopened internationally, it still was not enough to
bolster AMC’s profit margins.
As of late October, AMC opened 539 of its 600 domestic locations, and 261 of its 358 international venues. In addition, because of COVID-19 safety regulations, the movie theaters that have reopened were only allowed to partially fill their theaters to maintain social distancing.
Despite pressures from theater owners, no cinemas have reopened in the two major American markets: New York City and Los Angeles.
In a recent earnings report, which tabulated its revenue from July to September 2020, AMC reported that it made $119.5 million. This constituted a 90.9% drop from September 2019, when it brought in $1.3 billion in revenue. It also suffered a loss of $905.8 million. In total, for 2020, AMC has brought in a little more than $1 billion in revenue, compared to $4 billion in the first nine months of 2019.
“The magnitude of the impact of the global pandemic on the theatrical exhibition industry was again evident in our third-quarter results, as theatre operations in the U.S. were suspended for nearly two-thirds of the quarter,” said Adam Aron, CEO and president of AMC in a statement. “And yet, despite unrelenting obstacles, the AMC team continued to make significant progress in pursuit of our three key priorities: to strengthen our liquidity position, to dramatically reduce operating and capital expenditures, and to continue to safely and successfully restore our operations.”