The movie business got a bit of potentially good news over the weekend. Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that certain theaters will be allowed to reopen as early as October 23, with heavily reduced capacity. As a result, AMC Theatres has seen its stock prices surge, which is good news for the chain as they are on the brink of bankruptcy.
AMC announced that it would be reopening 12 theaters in the New York area later this week following the announcement over the weekend. While New York City theaters will remain closed, this will open up one of the biggest moviegoing markets in the world, albeit with heavy restrictions, for the first time in months. As a result, the company's stock price surged more than 20 percent. AMC CEO Adam Aron had this to say.
"The reopening of movie theatres around the country is essential to the theatrical industry and the entire entertainment ecosystem. It has become clear that movie studios are not willing to release blockbuster product until key major markets are open. Therefore, it is a monumental step in the right direction for our entire industry that theatres are starting to reopen across the state of New York."
In New York, theaters outside of NYC will be able to open at 25 percent capacity. No more than 50 people will be allowed in front of each movie screen. Theaters in certain counties outside of New York City that do not meet state requirements cannot reopen. Theaters will be subject to rigorous state guidance and enforcement. Andrew Cuomo had this to say about it over the weekend.
"We hit 160,000 tests in one day, which is a record number and the highest we've ever done. When you're doing that level of tests you get down to the block level. And then, when you start to see a cluster, you oversample in that cluster, so you get even more data. Beginning October 23, movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people maximum per screen. This is outside of New York City in areas that have infection rates below 2 percent on a 14-day average and have no cluster zones."
Some of the requirements for theaters will be masks at all times, except when eating or drinking. Assigned seating will be required in all theaters. Social distancing between parties is also being required at all times. Theaters will also be required to bring on additional staff to control occupancy, traffic and seating. Enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards are also being required of theaters that plan to resume operations.
AMC Theatres expects to have 530 of its 600 U.S. locations open by the end of the month. Despite that, the company warned recently that it is running out of money and could be out of cash by early 2021. Without a big boost in revenue, they are in major financial risk. The chain also recently started doing private theater rentals, which have done well for Cinemark and the Alamo Drafthouse in recent weeks. This news was previously reported by The Wrap.