For all of the gloomy predictions involving AMC — some they brought up themselves — they have made some creative financing moves to raise $917 million and push bankruptcy away for awhile.
The movie theater operator said it raised $917 million through a combination of equity and debt. On the equity side, AMC secured $506 million by issuing 164.7 million new shares along with the previously announced $100 million of additional first-lien debt and converting $100 million of second-lien debt into equity.
Not trying to be pessimistic here, just realistic. There’s nothing that’s happened the last year to indicate we are anywhere close to out of the woods. As I write this, movie theaters — including AMC — have been closed almost 9 of the last 12 months and are closed right now. They aren’t doing any significant business while the government forces them to stay closed.
Here’s an odd one that businesses usually try to avoid: demand without supply.
The opposite, supply without demand, is also undesirable.
The former is happening in the videogame sector due to extreme demand for the new Playstation 5 and Xbox consoles. Online scalping bots have added to the pain and scooped up available units only to resell at a profit.
There is no secondary legal scalping market for new movies. Supply isn’t really an issue — and yet kind of is, since the studios want to release these movies in theaters only, but with a limited number of theaters open it is creating areas where tickets can’t conveniently be bought. Where does this show up on the financial spreadsheet for studio revenue? Lost ticket sales due to unopened theaters, I guess, would be the data column.
A few times in 2020 new movies have been released in theaters open in some areas of the United States. The closest theater open near us is almost 250 miles away. Despite our love for the cinematic experience watching new movies that far away means we’ll have to wait. We need to see movies locally or if we’re on vacation within say a 50 mile radius to be practical.
Last week, Sony released the videogame movie Monster Hunter, this week on Christmas day, two new movies were released that are only available in theaters: Promising Young Woman and Tom Hanks in his first western called News of The World.
Since VOD isn’t an option — and even if it was — we’d probably only pay $20 to watch one of these three (I’d opt for Monster Hunter, but Kara probably would opt for Promising Young Woman), we’re not going to be watching and reviewing any of these until, at the earliest possibly, January 4, 2020 when theater reopen if these movies are still showing theatrically.
No reason to think they won’t be, but also no reason to believe our local government won’t push back the reopening date for movie theaters again, as they were supposed to be reopen on December 14, which would have allowed us to see all of these movies in theaters.
There’s actually a fourth new movie in theaters we’d like to see that we did preview (see: FIRST LOOK: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba) That anime film based on a popular series is only showing outside the United States and it’s doing really well financially. I’m sure someday it will be made available to watch in America, but no date has been announced as of this writing.
It’s good to have new movies waiting, but it seems a little silly that there are moviegoers who want to see movies and they are not conveniently available. In the past I’ve complained about LIMITED releases this way. They show up in a few theaters, either independent, arthouse, or large cities only. This might be a way for a movie to test audiences in various areas around the country, in a world where there are a bunch of different ways to screen new movies conveniently, it is an archaic distribution procedure.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman 1984 and Soul are two other new movies that were meant to be released in theaters originally. Wonder Woman 1984 of course controversially was made day and date available also on HBO Max and Disney chose to release Soul directly to Disney+. We have watched and reviewed both of those movies.
Of the four movies mentioned above, can you see any at theaters nearby in your area? Do you have any interest in seeing any of them? Or are you waiting for these movies to come to VOD or streaming?
It’s refreshing reading a contrast from a well-known actor saying the movie theater experience is not going anywhere. Thank you, George Clooney.
And let’s be clear that in 1950 everybody panicked that the movie industry would be done because of television, and then it was VHS, and then it was DVDs. The truth of the matter is there’s always going to be a great space for cinema. People have to get out of the house. I can’t keep saying to my wife, “Let’s watch TV tonight.” What [streaming] has done is provide thousands and thousands of new jobs for actors, writers, directors and producers who are making some really interesting content. It’s given new filmmakers, young people and minorities opportunities to work, so there’s nothing but good that comes out of this.
Tom Hanks also has had some optimistic things to say recently about movie theater survival:
Hanks draws a comparison between himself watching Bridge Over the River Kwai on a crummy TV and the current state of the industry: “Now, of course, with Netflix and all of the streaming services, we have the ability to watch a movie any time we want to on our couch. If the movie is really great and engaging you can still come away from that experience thinking, That is one of the greatest motion pictures I’ve ever seen. I experienced that recently with Chernobyl, the five-part thing. I said, “That was one of the greatest motion pictures I’ve ever seen.” It comes across with other films as well. Will movie theaters still exist? Absolutely they will. In some ways, I think the exhibitors, once they’re up and open, will have a freer choice with what movies they choose to play. I’m no Cassandra when it comes down to this, but big, event motion pictures are going to rule the day at the cinemas.”
Glad to see some movie stars, especially bigger ones, aren’t falling into the trap of lamenting the death of cinema.
Movie theaters have survived over 100 years, folks, they’re not going to disappear because of the pandemic and streaming. Will the experience change? Yes. Will some movie theater chains go away? Sure, but the industry have survived TV, VCRs, DVDs and it will survive — in some revised form, anyway — streaming.
What won’t survive are theatrical windows. These just aren’t as relevant any more. Let your customers see movies when and where they want. Yes, this hurts the physical media sales and some early VOD markets like hotels but maybe those avenues for movies weren’t meant to survive? Maybe people don’t want to pay $20 to rent movies for 24-48 hours.
This also means movie budgets won’t be as large. We won’t see as many big budget movies. Again, is this such a terrible thing? Plenty of great movies can be made on lower, tighter budgets. We don’t need to see a dozen Avatar scale movies every year. Maybe 1 or 2 of those type movies is just fine.
It’s going to be OK. When this pandemic ends — and it will subside at some point in the future (hopefully somewhere in 2021) — a lot of what people did before will be happening again. Yes, including movie theaters.
There is no arguing the experience will change and be different going forward, but what doesn’t change over time? If it wasn’t streaming and the pandemic, it would be something else.
Starting Monday at 11:59 p.m. local time, indoor social gatherings with people from outside the household are prohibited unless the guests have quarantined for 14 days or they have quarantined for seven days and received a negative test result 48 hours before the event.
Outdoor gatherings should have fewer than five people from outside the household, Washington state officials said.
Indoor dining at restaurants and bars will stop but outdoor dining and takeout remains unchanged. Gyms, movie theaters, bowling alleys and museums are closed, and weddings and funeral receptions are prohibited.
There weren’t many new movies planned the next month, as most studios had delayed or bailed titles for streaming release, but this ends our ability to see any more new movies in this state for the next month. Bummer.
Doubtful we will travel, because only essential travel is allowed, as well. This means we’re back to covering only the streaming new movies as we did for 5+ months during the first lockdown.
Throughout 2020, we’ve managed to see 44 new movies in theaters. In 2019, we only started tracking new movies in theaters from September to the end of the year and saw almost 70 movies in theaters during that six month period. Quite the contrast, as we might not even crack 50 new movies in theaters for the entire 2020 year.
If you are thinking of watching a movie at a theater in North Dakota as of this writing, you might want to hold off or exercise extreme caution.
It’s worth noting that there have been no cases reported of people contracting COVID-19 while attending a movie at a movie theater in the United States. Not yet, anyway.
The risk highlights the probability that one (or more) individuals may be infected with SARS-CoV-2 in events of different sizes.
—By integrating real-time information aggregated via state health departments nationwide along with a simple statistical model, the website is able to capture, calculate and disseminate information relevant to decision-making by the public that could help reduce risk and new transmission.
—The risk model addresses the probability that an infected person is present at events of different sizes rather than estimating the likelihood that someone will become infected at that event.
A COVID-19 risk assessment real time map is available showing your risk level wherever you are at, linked at the top of this post.
We were pleased to learn that as of this writing our county is listed as “only” having a 33% chance of encountering a person infected with COVID-19. Our neighboring south state of Oregon is going back into lockdown starting November 18, 2020.
It’s reopening weekend at AMC in the greater Seattle/Tacoma Washington area and we had planned to see The War With Grandpa as our second movie this weekend, but the theater where we watched Honest Thief is already sold out (pictured above).
It’s OK, we have several other reopened AMC locations to choose from that have available seats and we already reserved seats at another theater. It’s interesting to note on this reopening weekend because Honest Thief is on its first weekend opening and we’re not seeing the same amount of “SOLD OUT” for that.
This is a very small sampling of data, completely unscientific I’m certain, but curious to note since The War With Grandpa, according to box office sales projections is #2 behind Honest Thief.
The other thing to mention is now that we’re both signed up for AMC A-List passes, we took advantage of their Entourage option to easily reserve tickets for both of us online. It can be done through the application as well and the best part is there are none of those onerous convenience fees like Regal charges.
We don’t have any Alamo Drafthouse cinemas in Washington state. Not yet, anyway, but I like their idea of being able to rent the entire theater for $150 USD.
The Texas-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse is rolling out a nationwide program where patrons rent out an entire theater for themselves – along with their pandemic pod family and friends – for $150.
For managers of small teams, this could be a relatively inexpensive team party. Rent the theater, pick a movie and invite the team and a significant other to attend. A sales team, for example, could get the team together and watch Glengarry Glen Ross ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½ on the big screen.
What do you think of this promotion? Good idea? Bad? Am not just talking about during the pandemic, I’d recommend keeping this deal going. Your thoughts?
Throughout the pandemic, we’ve maintained the position that people should only return to the theater when they feel safe. There are way too many variables for any other person to judge whether or not it’s a good decision for you in your home area and individual circumstance to advise one way or the other. More importantly, who wants to take personal safety advice from a movie and TV review website?
We need to make our own decisions in life and limit outside influence. If the theater is open and you feel safe, we say more power to you. Enjoy yourselves!
If you don’t, however, that’s cool, too.
Unfortunately, the director to Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, has decided to take a more critical path on current moviegoers. Some might use the word “attack” when reading his quote below (emphasis is ours):
Derrickson also retweeted the following from Twitter user @mangiotto: “If you go see a movie in a theater right now, you are selfishly prolonging this crisis while endangering yourself, your family, and every stranger who may occupy a space you’ve vacated anywhere you go once you’ve been infected. You don’t care about others. You suck.”
In fairness to Mr. Derrickson, Twitter is a cesspool of critical thinking and it’s almost always extremely out of context, due to the text limitation. Still, if we play devil’s advocate, it’s really hard to put a positive spin on his own words.
This hyperbole from someone who doesn’t have, know or seem to care about all the facts is ignorant, at best. Who does this guy think he is, anyway telling me, you or anybody else that wants to go see a movie that we’re “selfishly prolonging this crisis.” Where are his facts to support this hypothesis? Besides his directorial prowess, he must also have a minor in biochemistry, yes?
Here are some facts, Mr. Derrickson.
We have been working alongside people this whole time in public in essential jobs, just as susceptible — maybe more — to being infected. Thankfully, neither of us have caught the virus, but our feelings are if we can catch the virus while working, we can catch it going to the grocery store, out to dinner or going to a movie. You can wake up this morning, walk outside and be struck by lightning or hit by a car walking down the street. Your chance of being killed in an automobile accident just commuting to and from work is high.
Risks are everywhere and we can’t live 100% risk adverse.
If you don’t want to see a movie in a theater, then don’t go. That’s totally cool and we’ll never complain about your decision. If someone wants to disrespect and again, that word, attack moviegoers without knowing anything about them or their situation, then no, we don’t suck, that person sucks.
Movie theaters are no less high risk than grocery stores or casinos and both of those are open, too. If you use Mr. Derrickson’s logic, everywhere you go outside interacting with other people you’re “prolonging” the crisis. I’m not saying throw COVID-19 parties to intentionally infect others (we’ve written about that insanity, see: COVID-19 Parties? Proof That Not All Human Life Is Intelligent).
Idiots are everywhere. Some, apparently, have directed Marvel movies.
I saw The New Mutants in IMAX Thursday (Kara wasn’t interested in seeing — and she was right) and we’re planning to see another movie tonight. Maybe — gasp — two! Probably catch at least one of the classic reissues in the theater over this weekend as well. We’re going to keep watching movies in theaters — until/unless they close again or we simply decide for whatever reason we don’t want to watch movies in theaters any more. It’s not likely to be because we believe our attendance is prolonging the crisis.
Does Mr. Derrickson’s — and probably some others agree – opinion that moviegoers are prolonging the crisis sit well with you? Do you agree or disagree? We’re open to discuss all viewpoints below.
AMC is pulling out the stops to get moviegoers back to their theaters when some are reopened next Thursday on August 20 in the United States.
Contrast this to Regal, that start reopening one day later Friday. Kara and I received email notification from Regal that we will both receive a free month of Regal Unlimited ($44+ tax value), with charging for the service to resume on/after September 21, 2020.
The 15 cents per movie deal at AMC isn’t as good as free, but it’s pretty close. Their similar program called A-List is available for $5 for the first month, but that only allows 3 movies per week. Regal doesn’t have a limit, except that you can only see the same movie once per day.
To think that in 1920 the ticket price to see movies was only 15 cents is an eye-opener for inflation considering the cost is more like $12 now.
The company, which was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1920, is also offering discounts on concessions like popcorn for $5 through the end of October. “We are thrilled to once again open our doors to American moviegoers who are looking for an opportunity to get out of their houses and apartments and escape into the magic of the movies,” Adam Aron, AMC’s CEO, said in a statement on Thursday.
Bummer for those of us in Washington State. Here’s the message we get on AMC website:
“Will reopen when local guidelines allow”
This is because in our area we’re in a phased reopening: phase 2, which does not allow reopening. Phase 3 is available in some counties in Washington state. The list of counties for other Washington state residents or tourists is here:
The state capitol is in Olympia, which is Thurston county. That’s in Phase 3 which allows movie theaters to reopen with less than 25% capacity. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing any theaters located in Thurston county, which is like 30 minutes away from us. Bummer again. Maybe we’ll find an AMC theater located there somewhere.
We’ll be checking next week and maybe in our state it will be allowed for AMC to reopen. Kara and I already talked about it. If the theaters are reopened, we’ll be there on Thursday August 20, 2020 watching at least one movie, probably more.
Is your state listed with theaters in your area reopening on August 20?
If you can go, does 15 cent movie ticket prices entice you any further to return? Or maybe the reduced concession price of $5 popcorn? Or do you still want to wait to feel safer? Tell us in the comments area how you currently feel. There are no right or wrong answers for how you personally feel about when it’s a good time to return to the movies. Just curious if others will be going as soon as they can.
With the third delay of Tenet and push back to staggered release August and September, China limiting run times to maximum of two hours and the ensuing fallout, it still isn’t a guarantee the theaters will start reopening August 21 as currently planned.
(am hopeful that when and where it is safe to reopen, they do)
The biggest blow that predated the Tenet delay decision came from California, going backwards on their phased rollouts, preventing movie theaters in particular from reopening. Washington state, the first place to have a confirmed case of COVID-19 in January 2020, and the state where we reside, is currently facing a resurgence of the virus.
The 10 states with the most theater locations are in the Comscore graph pictured above.
Currently, less than 17% of the 5,440 movie theater locations in the U.S. are open, according to data from Comscore. However, that number could change if more states rollback reopening plans amid growing numbers of Covid-19 cases.
The big three theater chains are saying they will have an estimated 80% of the theaters reopened by September 4, but as the graph shows, that will require a significant number of reopenings across many states.
Do you think the projected amount of theaters (80%+) in the United States will be reopened in 26 days (the number mentioned at the beginning of this post)? I’m hopeful this happens — assuming it is safe in the areas where reopening — but skeptical.
What’s different this time than the previous delays is how active at least Regal is being about promoting their reopening.
Movie theaters are different from other recreational or social gatherings, the cinema CEO said.
“The cinema sounds like a place with a lot of people and a lot of issues there, but at the end of the day, most of the time that someone is in the cinema, he is in his own seat, he’s not walking around,” he continued. “It’s not a wedding, it’s not a party, it’s not a restaurant. And everyone is facing one direction. And people, usually, while seeing a movie are not singing or talking. They’re watching the movie. We have dedicated points when we enter and go out and we will stagger the showtimes.”
When moviegoers feel comfortable it is safe is an individual choice depending on multiple factors. We’ve been going out in our area to public places like casinos for a couple months now, so we’ll be going back as soon as they reopen. Some readers have commented that they don’t intend to return right away, taking a wait and see approach. There is no wrong answer to the question about when it feels right for moviegoers to return.
Will 80% of theaters reopen by September 4? We’ll find out soon.