LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Struggling theater chain AMC announced Thursday that it will reopen 100 of its theaters next week for the first time since it was forced to shutter back in mid-March. However, none of those theaters are in California.
The company said it will reopen in waves, with the first 100 theaters reopening on Thursday, Aug. 20. To celebrate the reopening, AMC will charge only 15 cents per ticket on Aug. 20 to mark what a movie ticket cost 100 years ago, in 1920.
Another 300 theaters will reopen over the two ensuing two weeks. AMC has about 600 theaters nationwide.
However, no theaters in California have a reopening date scheduled due to the renewed statewide lockdown orders issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom last month.
AMC had been set to reopen in mid-July before it had to scratch those plans when the coronavirus pandemic surged yet again.
Theater chains like AMC and Regal have been on a roller coaster of sorts over the past several months as they try and remain financially viable with the summer blockbuster season essentially canceled. In June, AMC reported a staggering $2.2 billion in losses since the pandemic began.
Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” whose release was put off several times, is slated to be the first major tentpole to hit U.S. theaters on Sept. 3. It’s unclear if California theaters will be open by then. Disney’s “Mulan” was supposed to come out in theaters in March. After several delays, Disney decided to pull the plug on a theatrical release and put the film out to its streaming platform Disney Plus on Sept. 4 at a price point of $30.
Gov. Newsom initially gave permission for production in California to resume and movie theaters to reopen on June 12, but at the discretion of each county.
L.A. County did not give its theaters the green light to reopen at the time, but it did not matter, because the coronavirus case spike forced Newsom to reverse course. On July 1, he ordered movie theaters in multiple counties, including L.A., to close again.
On July 13, Newsom went a step further, ordering the closure of indoor operations at all restaurants, bars, gyms, houses of worship, malls, and other locations in dozens of counties statewide in an effort to slow transmission of the illness. Those closures remain in effect for 38 counties on the state’s watch list.