Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita and Sibile Marcellus discuss AMC Theatres' decision to resume operations on October 23 in New York.
AKIKO FUJITA: Let's shift our attention to theaters because AMC is looking to usher in a new normal in the state of New York. The company planning to reopen its movie theaters this week with limited capacity in the state. And Sibile Marcellus is following that story for us. And Sibile, we've seen big moves for AMC on the back of this announcement. That stock up as much as 20% in the session.
SIBILE MARCELLUS: That's right. I looked just a couple seconds ago, Akiko, and it actually is still up 15%. So AMC investors very happy with this news. So what the company said is that this week, they're going to be opening more movie theaters, specifically in New York, on Friday, about a dozen, and eventually they're going to have about more than 530 movie theaters open.
So this is great news for investors because they've been hearing so much, when it comes to those big movie studios, they're delaying all these big blockbusters. So how do you get people to come to the movie theater? So, obviously, that's been impacting their business. AMC shares year to date are down more than 50%. What we're seeing is that when it comes to the smaller, midsized movie theater owners, they're really struggling, and some of them are saying they don't think they'll be able to reopen because of the pandemic.
AKIKO FUJITA: And Sibile, while we're talking about struggles here in the US, some positive news out of China perhaps, at least for these theater or these movie theater companies. We saw China surpassing the US in terms of box office sales. This is something that was expected at the beginning of the year, but how does that help a company, like AMC and some of these other theaters, that have been struggling here in the US?
SIBILE MARCELLUS: Right. So what we're seeing with the coronavirus pandemic, China has overtaken the US, North America, in terms of box office sales. So when you look at the numbers, so China's box office has grown to just a little bit short of $2 billion in 2020. So, by this time this year, we're looking at $1.94 billion for the US versus $1.98 billion for China.
If you want to compare that to what happened last year in 2019, we saw that North America box office sales in the US were about $11.4 billion compared to China, that was $9.2 billion. So what we're seeing here, Akiko, is a big impact the coronavirus pandemic, as we're seeing major blockbusters having to be delayed, and we're seeing also Americans apprehensive about sitting in a movie theater, wearing a mask, and you're eating popcorn, and you're worrying about, you know, being safe, and washing your hands, and your hand sanitizer, and everything.
AKIKO FUJITA: Yes, so many steps to get to the movie theater, right? It's going to be interesting, especially here in New York, to see how many movie goers actually returned to the theaters when AMC reopens its theaters later this week. Thanks for that, Sibile.