AMC Reopening More Theaters – Shortened Theatrical Window Cited as Key Competitive Advantage

Maybe we will be able to watch new movies being widely released in theaters, after all. This is in encouraging news, thanks to AMC. They will be opening a local theater next Friday 10/16 (pictured above). Just in time for Honest Thief starring Liam Neeson. We’ll be at least a week behind watching War with Grandpa, but hey, just happy to have another theater reopening nearby.

AMC is very determined to open more theaters in Washington State (pictured above), a state that only had one Regal Cinema open the last month and no AMCs reopened in our area.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc AMC.N, the largest theater chain in the United States, said on Thursday it expects to open more locations in Washington state and have more than 520 theaters open in the country by mid-October.

AMC to open more cinema theaters in the United States | Reuters

Props to AMC for continuing to open new theaters, despite the #2 closing all of their US theaters (see: “Facing situation where it is better to be closed than to be open,” says Cineworld/Regal CEO – Could be 1-2+ months before they reopen)

They estimate by October 16, nationwide 520 locations will be reopened. That means an AMC theater in the United States is likely be open near you, unless you live in New York and some cities in California.

Also found it interesting that AMC is crediting their industry maligned (by others) deal with Universal. AMC’s CEO explains (emphasis mine):

Aron pointed to the historic deal AMC reached with Universal Pictures in July as a reason the company is in a position to keep its theaters open. The agreement shortened the time that Universal’s films had to be shown in AMC theaters before moving to on-demand streaming from 90 days to 17 days.

“We get a cut both of the theatrical revenue and the home revenue. That’s an agreement that AMC has struck,” Aron said. “Our competitors have not yet struck that agreement.” 

AMC CEO: Keeping movie theaters open is ‘the right decision’ even as rival Regal shutters screens

Regular readers here already know we’ve gone against popular opinion (multiple times now) celebrating the inevitable reduction of the theatrical window (see: Good deal – AMC strikes historic deal with Universal to shrink theatrical window to 17 days) and it’s encouraging to see AMC’s newfound enthusiasm (perhaps borne out of financial desperation, but who cares?).

We’ll continue to support a reduced — and in some cases eliminated — theatrical window. Day and date releases can still make money for cinemas. They have to accept that and understand their customers — passionate moviegoers like us — want to be able to watch movies where we want, when we want and as often as we want. Those that cater best to their customers deserve financial fruits. Those that don’t? Goodbye and good riddance.

I didn’t expect Regal (#2) and Cinemark (#3) to be giddy about AMC’s deal, but thought they eventually would begrudgingly follow suit.

To their financial peril, it seems, that hasn’t happened yet.

Also, other studios besides Universal haven’t cut the same deal leaving Universal and AMC going it alone. If the movies do well released under this shortened window watch how long it takes other studios and the other two major theater chains to cave.

Then again, this is 2020 and box office revenue is beyond strained. This could also go the opposite way with AMC going out of business in six months, bone dry empty on operating income and Universal forced to go back to the more traditional deal.

We’ll know truly how important this deal is when a major movie is released under this deal. That test case will be F9, currently scheduled to be released May 2021. I don’t see Regal passing on the ability to show that tentpole film.

Our history covering AMC since the pandemic is revealing. At first AMC took a much more aggressive position with Universal on the Trolls World Tour launch and maintaining the established lengthier theatrical window. They once vowed not to show any Universal movies period (see April 29, 2020: AMC Titanic May Just Have Struck Studio Iceberg – They Will No Longer Play ANY Universal Movies).

Good seeing they changed their minds.

It’s not about what has been the standard in a dynamic business, it’s about what is and what will be the new way of doing business. A good, healthy business adapts, grows, and keeps up with the times. It seems AMC is embracing change now. At least being more welcoming toward it. Props to them. And hopefully enough business to stave off bankruptcy.

At least they aren’t taking their ball and going home for 1-2+ months like Regal is doing. They’re trying.

Maybe it’s time we consider buying an AMC Stubs monthly movie subscription? It’s not unlimited like Regal and AMC doesn’t have as many theaters as Regal in our area, but it’s moot when Regal is closed everywhere and AMC are open.

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