At least for now, two major theater chains are staying open in the U.S. AMC Theatres and Cinemark have announced that they have no plans to close even though most major movies have recently pushed their release dates well into 2021. This comes after Cineworld announced it will be temporarily closing its doors again, which includes all of its Regal locations in the U.S.
AMC is the largest movie theater chain in the country, with Cinemark sitting at number three. Regal is sandwiched between them in the number two spot. Recently, MGM delayed the new James Bond movie No Time to Die to 2021, with Disney delaying Black Widow and Warner Bros. pushing back Dune by nearly a year. With that, it was expected that more theaters would be following in Cineworld's footsteps. For the time being, these chains are holding firm. AMC CEO Adam Aron had this to say.
"Fortunately for AMC, our groundbreaking agreement with Universal Studios announced earlier this summer puts AMC in a position where we can open our theaters when others may feel the need to close. We are fully comfortable showing Universal films in our theaters, even as they implement premium video on demand as we have mutually agreed. This is because AMC will share in premium revenues coming from their early availability in the home."
In July AMC and Universel announced a unique deal that will allow more movies to have shorter theatrical windows before arriving on premium VOD, which has become popular in 2020. Trolls World Tour, for example, was offered as a digital rental for $19.99. The deal will see AMC showing the movies in theaters first before the PVOD release, which can happen as soon as 17 days after the initial release. AMC will get a cut of these profits.
That deal gives AMC another revenue stream. Cinemark, meanwhile, has to rely on the box office, which has more or less been on life support. Tenet and The New Mutants failed to bring in big crowds like studios and theater chains hoped. Despite that, Cinemark is going to try and weather the storm. The company had this to say about its decision.
"Cinemark's reopening plan was designed with multiple contingencies in place to ensure we are able to be nimble and react as needed to this ever-changing environment."
Cinemark recently started offering private theater rentals starting at $99. The chain will allow customers to bring a Blu-ray/DVD of their choosing to screen with up to 20 people. This is an alternative to buying a ticket to a regular showing, which many moviegoers have been reluctant to do as health and safety concerns loom. That is largely why drive-ins have had an unexpected resurgence in 2020. Some of the few major releases still on deck for this year include Soul, Free Guy, Death on the Nile, Coming to America 2 and Wonder Woman 1984. This news was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter.