It is no secret that 2020 was a legendarily bad year for the movie business. It was a bad year all around, yes. But the movie industry, particularly the exhibition side of things, suffered greatly. That has been illustrated in eye-opening fashion as AMC Theatres has reported its earnings for last year. All told, the company lost a staggering $4.6 billion in 2020.
AMC's full-year results for 2020 are remarkable. The company's revenue took a nosedive, falling 77.3 percent year-to-year, taking in $1.2 billion last year. That is down from $5.5 billion in 2019. The domestic box office raked in a massive $11.3 billion in 2019. That fell to just $2.08 billion overall last year. AMC CEO Adam Aron had this to say in a statement.
"This past year has presented AMC with the most challenging market conditions in the 100-year history of the company. As unprecedented as these times have been, so too is the unprecedented drive and commitment of the AMC team to take swift and decisive actions to ensure our survival and our success. As we sit here today, we see that vaccinations are occurring in the United States at a brisk clip, our theatres in New York City have finally opened with theatres in Los Angeles likely opening shortly as well, blockbuster movie titles are currently scheduled to be released in significant quantity in the coming few months, and we have more than $1 billion of cash on hand. Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC's ability to get to the other side of this pandemic."
Roughly a year ago, virtually all movie theaters in the U.S. shut down. Given that AMC is the largest theater chain in the country, that hurt them in a big way. Theaters didn't open again in a meaningful way until August. And business has been relatively slow-going, with movies like Tenet failing to drum up significant ticket sales. At least not on industry-saving levels.
Most studios delayed all of their blockbuster offerings, such as No Time to Die, Black Widow and F9, among many others, out of 2020 altogether. Plus, studios began experimenting with new release strategies, such as premium VOD and hybrid releases. This all served to further hurt theaters and ravaged the box office. The hope is that, as things return to normal, so will moviegoers return to their local theater.
Some changes will have long-lasting effects. Shorter exclusive theatrical windows. The prevalence and dominance of streaming services. The bigger questions now have to do with what role movie theaters will play in the future. Will they be reserved for only the biggest of the big blockbusters? Will people still show up and buy a ticket to see smaller releases? Will shorter exclusive windows hurt the bottom line for theaters? Will chains experiment with variable pricing? For now, we have precious few answers but the industry is in desperate need of a rebound in 2021. That much is certain. This news was previously reported by Business Wire.