AMC Theaters announced on Thursday that it will delay reopening U.S. movie theaters until mid-to-late August in light of the coronavirus pandemic still having spikes throughout the country.
The news is yet another blow to the theater industry in the United States that stems from the COVID-19 pandemic forcing theaters to shutter their doors amid bans on large indoor gatherings. The largest theatrical exhibition company in the United States, Europe and the Middle East announced that it is pushing back its previously announced July 30 reopening date.
The new timing is designed to reflect changes made by studios to the releases of films like “Tenet” and “Mulan,” from Warner Bros. and Disney respectively, according to the theater chain. Earlier this week, the release of “Tenet” was postponed indefinitely, and Disney’s “Mulan” followed suit on Thursday. Disney also pushed back other releases, including films in the “Avatar” and “Star Wars” franchises, back by a year.
The move is in line with other major theater chains like Cineworld Group PLC's Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Holdings Inc., which have decided to stay closed until they have new movies to show.
AMC had previously planned to reopen the bulk of its U.S. locations on July 30 but plans have changed in light of changes to the release date of films. The largest studios — the Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros., Universal — now all have streaming services of their own, along with television operations.
This gives them options outside a typical theatrical release. The on-demand release of “Trolls” caused a rift between Universal and AMC. But the two halves of theatrical moviegoing have worked largely in concert through the pandemic thus far.
However, as studios continue to push back release dates, Deadline reports that Disney may be thinking of forging ahead with a straight to a video-on-demand release of “Mulan,” prompting questions about how long studios will work with theaters as the pandemic continues.
In the meantime, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. reached a deal earlier this month with investors who will pump $300 million of new money as the chain looks to restart its business and fill seats.
The Associated Press contributed to this report