are amc theatres closing
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Are AMC Theatres Closing Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic?

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 11:37 a.m. ET

AMC Entertainment Holdings, the largest film exhibition company in the U.S. and Europe, has faced immense struggles to survive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since so many cinemas have been forced to close or face limited capacity, moviegoers have turned to online streaming services. Have AMC Theatres been weathering the storm?

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AMC Theatres is still operational and plans to continue despite the industry’s lagging recovery. While Cineworld, the second-largest movie theater chain in the country, has closed all of its Regal Cinemas right now, AMC and Cinemark are remaining open, according to Fox Business

amc theatres amid covid
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How many AMC movie theaters are there?

AMC had about 1,000 theaters as of June 2020 with locations in 15 countries. The century-old AMC Entertainment Holdings went public on the NYSE in 2013 under the ticker symbol "AMC." At the time of AMC's IPO, the company was worth $18 per share. The stock was $3.64 as of 9:36 a.m. ET on Dec. 4.  

AMC stock dropped by 16 percent on Dec. 3 in response to news that Warner Brothers will be adopting a simultaneous release model for all of 2021. Since cinemas usually have exclusive showing rights on new movies for several months, the news is a serious blow to the movie theater industry.

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Is AMC Theatres closing?

AMC Theatres isn't closing at this time. The company plans to push film studios to work with them to bring back live theater experiences. AMC CEO Adam Aron had harsh words about Warner Bros. and its decision to release 2021 films in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time.  

“Clearly, WarnerMedia intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max startup,” Aron said in an emailed statement, according to Bloomberg

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WarnerMedia owns Warner Brothers and HBO Max. The BBC reported that its chair and chief executive, Ann Sarnoff, expressed the desire to see the movie theater industry bounce back. She said that new content is “the lifeblood of theatrical exhibition.”  

WarnerMedia supported companies like AMC in September by releasing its sci-fi thriller Tenet exclusively in theaters. However, the company wants to find a balance and knows that theaters will still have reduced capacity for most of 2021. 

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Earlier in the year, AMC threatened to ban Universal movies for its plan to simultaneously release movies in theaters and on digital services. The companies reached an agreement. Universal can start digital streaming options for movies after 17 days of exclusive theater rights, according to Variety

Are AMC Theatres closing permanently?

AMC and the theater and live entertainment industry are struggling severely, but many of the companies are hopeful about the impact of a COVID-19 vaccine. They question the broadness of the decision that will impact all of 2021 for the cinemas around the country. 

According to Bloomberg, IMAX CEO Rich Gelfond pointed out that box offices in Asia and other countries have largely recovered. They think that committing to the simultaneous-release model for the entire year seems unnecessary because larger gatherings will likely become more normal again.  

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