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.

Dune postponed to 2021, The Batman to 2022, AMC doubles down on their theaters staying open

Regal closes all US theaters Thursday 10/8, AMC trying to stay open with few new movies

W.A.S.P has this song on their debut album called “The Torture Never Stops” – a fitting ballad for the movie business in 2020.

Those looking forward to seeing Dune (me!) around Christmas in 2020 will now need to wait until Oct 1, 2021 and Warner Bros. has pushed The Batman back to 2022. Several other titles have been moved around.

Warner Bros. is delaying a slew of its upcoming films, including The Batman, which EW has confirmed is now set for a March 4, 2022 premiere. Its previous Oct. 1, 2021 date is being taken over by Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, confirming reports from earlier today.

The Batman moves to 2022 after Dune takes its premiere date | EW.com

Curiously, AMC is not closing their theaters in the United States in reaction to Regal closing all their locations as of end of business Thursday 10/8/2020. As we learned previously, the Regal Cinema closings will likely run through Christmas (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)

Since there are no AMC theaters open in any reasonable distance from us (Washington State near Seattle), we’re now effectively unable to see any new movies released in theaters. That includes The War With Grandpa that opens wide (eyeroll) this weekend and Honest Thief next week. Bummer, as we want to see both those movies.

No idea if those two movies will be delayed or made available on streaming or simply roll out where theaters are open. Seems like at least War With Grandpa is going as planned. We will be unable to review that here, unfortunately, unless a theater opens nearby.

Normally on Wednesdays we spotlight movies opening wide in theaters, but didn’t today and will resume that feature once theaters are open again in our area. It can be AMC, Regal, Cinemark or even independent theaters, we just want any movie theater that shows new movies open — and that’s not a reality locally at the moment. We’ll continue to wait, hopeful they will open and have new movies to show again soon.

Shudder Reaches 1 Million Subscribers on September 23, 2020

Creepshow Season 2 is filming now for future release on Shudder, slated most likely for 2021

Congratulations to AMC’s Shudder for hitting the seven figure subscriber milestone.

“The addition of original series and movies turbocharged our growth and turned Shudder into a must-have service for anyone interested in great horror, thriller or supernatural entertainment,” said Miguel Penella, president of SVOD at AMC Networks, in a statement. “Our relentless focus on quality programming, innovative content and finding the best up-and-coming creators has enabled Shudder to break out in the crowded world of subscription services.

AMC’s Horror Streaming Service ‘Shudder’ Reaches 1M Subscribers | Cord Cutters News

This news comes in the middle of their 61 days of Halloween horror event that kicked off on September 1 and runs through Halloween 2020.

Being a huge horror fan myself, Kara finds it one of her least favorite genres, this news is even better. Have said it before that Shudder is a must have for hardcore horror fans. Even if you subscribe, binge what you want for a couple months, leave and then come back and do it again a few months later. Whatever your horror watching strategy, at some point Shudder should be part of it.

And nobody is paying me to say that, nor are there any affiliate links to the site here. We’re subscribers and horror fans, that’s all, passing along something good.

As far as niche streaming sites go, this one is one of my most favorites. DC Universe used to be, but they are getting out of the streaming movie and TV show business, going comic books only and their video content is moving to HBO Max.

Anything you’d like to see playing on Shudder? They do have some modern horror films, but their sweet spot is titles that are older and newer originals, like recently I watched Nicolas Cage in Color Out Of Space ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (recommended).

AMC Network drops lawsuit against AT&T over alleged network unfairness

The Shudder promo code above likely doesn’t work any more, but you can find more

An update on the lawsuit between AMC and AT&T over alleged unfairness AT&T was showing its existing network over competing networks. The carriers have reached an agreement.

The Walking Dead parent alleged AT&T favors its own competing networks including HBO and TNT by insisting on “discriminatory” terms to renew affiliation agreements with AMC. AT&T had called the complaint “without merit” and insisted it treats “all programmers fairly.”

AMC Networks Request To Withdraw Complaint Against AT&T Granted By FCC – Deadline

What’s most interesting in the Deadline article is what AT&T says about AMC toward the end of the article.

“The cost to provide AMC Networks’ programming to our customers should reflect that AMC Networks’ shows have been declining in popularity as compared to their peers for several years.”

Ouch. Don’t know if AT&T is correct about the stats, but do know from a fan standpoint, I disagree on at least one area of AMC Networks.

AMC is the network behind Shudder, for that alone they deserve my respect vote. Shudder is an awesome, low-cost niche streaming service for horror fans. If you like horror and aren’t subscribed to Shudder, find yourself one of the many easily available promo codes (just do a Google search for “Shudder promo codes”) and check out a free month trial. With Halloween right around the corner next month, the timing is great.

We resubscribed to Shudder this week, making it the ninth streaming service we are currently subscribed to:

  1. Netflix
  2. Amazon Prime Video (as Prime members)
  3. HBO Max
  4. Disney+ (subscribed annually, mostly for our grandchildren, we hardly ever watch it)
  5. Peacock (premium subscription is free, since we are Xfinity internet customers)
  6. Shudder (resubbed new this week of 9/14)
  7. Hulu (will cancel once working through the movies & shows we’re currently watching)
  8. CBS All Access (contemplating dropping after Lower Decks, just not that much else there of interest)
  9. DC Universe (most likely dropping soon, but waiting first to see what this week’s big announcement is, see: )

Add all these subscription fees up and it’s pushing $75+/month. We can’t watch all these channels enough to justify keeping all, so we’ll drop the ones we’re watching least and return when something we really want to see on the channel returns.

Shudder from AMC, to get back to the article in question, is well worth subscribing to, especially in the fall, when that horror halloween witchy time of year is in full force.

AMC more supportive of Disney’s Mulan release plans than Universal’s Trolls World Tour

It’s not a stretch to believe AMC is a mess on a number of public relations fronts right now.

We thought AMC was a toothless bear with missing claws when their CEO was lashing out at Universal over the launch of Trolls World Tour (see: AMC Titanic May Just Have Struck Studio Iceberg – They Will No Longer Play ANY Universal Movies). Now, less than half a year later, this has all but been proven.

Or maybe it’s because AMC is more afraid of Disney than Universal?

Whatever the case, AMC’s empty threat of not showing any Universal movies was revoked and recently they struck a deal to shorten the theatrical window to 17 days for Universal and Focus Features movies (see: Good deal – AMC strikes historic deal with Universal to shrink theatrical window to 17 days), with AMC receiving a slice of Universal’s VOD revenue. I’m sticking by this being a good deal, but others in the industry, including other studios and the other two theater chains, have criticized the deal.

What’s fascinating is how quickly AMC’s #1 in the industry position being completely closed and flailing financially has warmed their tone. It looks like pure survival instinct vs. playing the industry heavy.

Aron’s comments are strikingly different from his attitude just five months ago. When the coronavirus pandemic shuttered theaters across the nation, Universal opted to release Trolls World Tour on-demand, prompting AMC to threaten a ban on the studio’s films. “This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat,” Aron said of the ban at the time, which has since been revoked since AMC and Universal’s historic deal.

AMC CEO Reacts to Disney Releasing Mulan on VOD – /Film

We’ve mentioned before that we rarely visit AMC theaters. The indecisive way they’ve behaved during the pandemic only makes them less desirable to us going forward to patronize. Admittedly, we have the benefit here — once most/all theaters reopen, that is — of having a cross selection of movie theaters including Regal and Cinemark, independents and AMC to choose from.

With multiple choices competing for our moviegoer $$$, and even before the pandemic, we rarely patronized AMC theaters. The AMC Stubs List program isn’t as good for our movie watching routine as the Regal Unlimited Plan (see: Yes, More Perks and Quirks to Entice Moviegoers Please + Regal Unlimited 2019 Recap), which is probably the #1 reason we prefer Regal over AMC, but if we only had AMC theaters to choose from, not being hypocritical, but we’d patronize AMC more. Having an indecisive corporation isn’t necessarily the fault of the local theater and management.

Recently, one reader commented that AMC has better popcorn than Regal. We need to do a taste comparison between the theaters, because honestly, my memory is both make good popcorn. It’s a curious observation and one marked down for future exploration.

Good deal – AMC strikes historic deal with Universal to shrink theatrical window to 17 days

17 days. Wow. This is a better deal than anybody predicted would be cut by Universal.

Yes, the same Universal that was being threatened by AMC earlier this year for their decision to release Trolls World Tour to VOD (see: AMC Titanic May Just Have Struck Studio Iceberg – They Will No Longer Play ANY Universal Movies). Like I said all along, AMC was holding a pair of deuces during pandemic poker and Universal had dealt themselves a straight flush with the VOD success of Trolls.

17 days is the new theatrical window deal that AMC cut with Universal. From 90 to 17 and AMC will share in the VOD/PVOD revenue.

The deal includes at least three weekends of theatrical exclusivity for all Universal Pictures and Focus Features theatrical releases, at which time the studio will have the option to make its titles available across PVOD platforms. Universal said its traditional windows for electronic sell-through and regular VOD remain unchanged.

AMC Theatres, Universal Collapsing Theatrical Window to 17 Days in Unprecedented Pact | Hollywood Reporter

Readers will note I’ve been pushing for shortening the theatrical window for quite some time — since October of last year, well before we knew anything about a pandemic (see: It’s Time To Shrink Theatrical Window To 30 Days), so of course I like this deal.

17 days includes three weekends in the cinema which is more than enough for most movies — except big budget films — to be exclusive to theaters.

Will other studios cut similar deals? Indeed, I think they will. What do you think of this new 17 day window?

AMC now targeting July 30 reopening due to Tenet and Mulan delays, Regal staying July 10 course

This makes sense — and yet it sort of doesn’t.

The problem with theaters continuing to wait to reopen until they have new movies is waiting too long, not testing the moviegoer marketplace in current times with safety protocols in place. Wait too long, not enough screens are open, this spooks the studios who, in turn, delay their movies further, thus giving the theaters less new movies to show.

This perpetuates a cycle that will be difficult to break as long as theaters continue to stay closed. The sooner they open, they start testing the market with their enhanced safety protocols and then they’re ready and customers are programmed by the time Tenet, Mulan and other new titles hit. It makes sense.

As of this writing, assuming it’s safe and legal to do so of course, Regal Cinema is standing by their reopening date plans (see: Regal Cinemas Announces Classic Movie Screenings Starting July 10 (IF they reopen): Rocky, Jaws, The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Knight, Jurassic Park and more), but AMC announced they are pushing back their reopening plans by a couple more weeks.

On Monday, the largest theater chain in the U.S., said it would now begin its phased reopening of theaters on July 30. Previously, the company had planned on starting to reopen theaters in mid-July in time for the releases of “Tenet” and “Mulan.” 

AMC shifts reopening to July 30 as Hollywood pushes back blockbusters

As stated here before, we don’t personally care when AMC reopens in our area, because we are Regal Unlimited Pass customers and watch the vast majority of movies in Regal Cinemas in our area.

These are the theaters we’ll be watching movies at again soon, hopefully. And, yes, we’ll wear masks, as they are now required everywhere in Washington State in public. Don’t know about you, but I’m more used to wearing a mask. No, I don’t like wearing them, but I’ve been wearing one literally for months now, so it’s become conditioned behavior. When health officials say it is safe to no longer wear one, I happily go without, but I’m not going to let wearing a mask spoil going out in public and to the movies (see: Will You Watch More or Less Movies in Theaters That Require Wearing a Mask?)

Regal Cinemas is a mere 11 days from this post, and yet no movie times are showing yet. I’m curious when presales will become available? I mean, you’d think the next few days if they’re opening in 11 days, certainly not like the night before, right? Yes/no?

I keep reading about part of the safety is not having cash transactions and buying tickets online … .but yet we’re nearing a week before theaters reopen and still can’t buy tickets yet. I realize they are probably waiting until the last possible moment to reopen, but it seems counter to planning and safety to not give some amount of time in advance of the reopening for ticket presales.

Then again, maybe the vast majority of theater ticket purchases are on site? Admittedly, that’s how we prefer to do it, even though we can use the app in our phones and pay like 50 cents or something for the “convenience” of a presale. I wonder if those convenience fees will be waived in light of this being the primary way to buy movie tickets?

So many questions and so few answers. We’ll stay on top of it. Feel free to use the comments to share what your movie theater reopening experience is like.

AMC opens mouth, inserts foot … again – please just reopen already!

If any company ever needed to quit the doom diet, it’s AMC. We realize time’s are challenging and they need to tell shareholders something, but does it have to be that they have “substantial doubt” their business can continue to stay afloat? I mean, really.

Negative prophetic hypotheticals aren’t even remotely encouraging for businesses.

Sure, AMC are burning cash while closed and if they open and don’t do enough business they’ll burn reserves even faster. The problem is the longer they stay closed, I’d argue, the worse it all gets.

The theater chain, which closed its theaters earlier this year, expects to have lost between $2.1 billion and $2.4 billion in the first quarter.

AMC Theatres has ‘substantial doubt’ it can remain in business – CNN

I’ve been saying all along that they should reopen as soon as it’s safe to do so. More and more businesses are being allowed to reopen. We’re in June now, and while there are no new wide release movies available, it seems prudent to me that they should get the theaters open — again, if it’s safe to do so — then start showing movies.

Or are they literally going to wait until the week of Tenet on July 17? I’ve heard they may reopen in July, but not seen any actual date on the AMC website. Has anybody else?

Amazon doesn’t need AMC, but they could use some more movie theaters

Don’t buy the hype that Amazon might actually buy AMC. Look at AMC’s burning balance sheet. It’s a huge money-making business, but not a very profitable one for movie theater owners.

Yesterday, we saw the news that Amazon is reportedly talking with AMC about a possible buyout. Maybe by now you’ve seen and heard the reports too.

It sounds enticing. Amazon Studios wanting to get more of their movies on the big screens being suddenly the #1 biggest movie chain in the world? Oh, the possibilities. The extra income …

… until you hear the price tag. That brutal thing known as overhead.

Amazon thrives on reducing overhead. Seeing them in a business where they can’t use drones instead of people to deliver popcorn to moviegoers? Don’t laugh. It might be possible someday to have drones deliver concessions in movie theaters 😉

Right now, today, I don’t see how or why it makes any business or financial sense for a hugely profitable company like Amazon to absorb billions in AMC debt. Instead, they could, should and probably will let them fold and buy the theaters — the actual physical locations — they want in a fire sale. Some AMC theaters are in locations that might need immediate shutdown (see: Florida Landlord Sues AMC for Rent – 7.5 million – Meanwhile, they won’t open until there are “new” movies to show?)

AMC needs Amazon’s help much more. Of course the stocks of both companies are jumping on the mere mention of talks.

Shares of AMC were up more than 18% in premarket trading on Monday after the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that Amazon has held talks with the world’s largest cinema-chain owner, which runs movie theaters globally under the AMC and Odeon names in the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, among other locations.

Amazon Reportedly Expresses Buyout Interest in AMC – TheStreet

Amazon already owns some smaller theaters and it makes total sense for them to expand their movie theater presence — assuming they believe in physical movie theaters — just as they bought Whole Foods to expand their grocery business.

I’m not sure Amazon believes, at least on a giant, global scale, that movie theaters will be as dominant in the future as they’ve been in the past. That’s the billion dollar question. I’m not arguing that movie theaters won’t continue to play some important part in the future of movie watching and that Amazon would like to have that distribution arm for their films being friendlier (say goodbye to most if not all of the theatrical window if Amazon buys AMC).

A more wise business decision for Amazon is to wait and see what happens.

Let the big three movie chains suffer financially and then swoop in and cherry pick the physical locations. They don’t need AMC corporate and NATO (National Association of Theater Owners), but could benefit from owning some of the better physical locations. Those will be for sale without the beleaguered companies and their obsoleted theatrical window rules.

My guess is that’s what Jeff Bezos and company said in their talks, if they even had any according to the rumor and alleged news reports. We’ll buy some of your locations but we want to run them our way. Yes, our way or the highway, AMC. Indeed, that’s what a business overflowing with cash in the black says to a company deep in the red.

AMC, if they have any choice, will not slice up their company for Amazon. I don’t see a deal happening yet. Could it happen someday? Sure, but it isn’t in Amazon’s favor at the present time. Regardless the outcome, I do see Amazon picking up more physical theaters. In fact, I’ve already said this was a strong possibility in past posts here.

And while we’re speculating. Disney, Universal, all the major studios should be staking claim to buying more movie theaters that may soon be on the market. Since the age old laws were lifted preventing them from doing so (see: Studios To Regain Powers Due to 1948 Paramount Consent Being Overturned), it’s a golden opportunity for them to own locations they can exhibit their movies. Competition is good and I don’t see how any three giant corporations owning almost all the movie theaters is as good as a half dozen major studios owning chains of theaters.

Strap in, grab your popcorn, the future of movie theater ownership is headed for change.

Florida Landlord Sues AMC for Rent – 7.5 million – Meanwhile, they won’t open until there are “new” movies to show?

AMC On Demand is available … not sure how much $$ it is generating?

It’s not news that landlords are feeling the sting from tenants that can’t pay rent, but I’m a bit flummoxed by this lawsuit. $7.5 million for the entire balance of the lease? That’s what a Florida landlord is asking AMC to pay.

Palm Springs Mile Associates, Ltd., filed suit in federal court in Miami, alleging that AMC had failed to pay the $52,153.87 monthly rent on the AMC Hialeah 12. The suit contends that the breach of contract has triggered a requirement for immediate payment of the balance of the lease. The suit seeks in excess of $7.5 million in damages.

AMC Theatres Sued by Florida Landlord for Not Paying Rent – Variety

Let’s talk about that rent for a minute. $52,153.87 per month. If we divide that by 12 screens that works out to a cost of $4,346 per screen, if we then divide that by 30 days, that works out to 362 movie tickets sold per screen per day just to pay the rent.

This doesn’t take into account that the theaters don’t get to keep 100% of the ticket price. In fact, they get far less from the new movies when first released. This also doesn’t cover any labor costs.

This makes me feel less annoyed that popcorn is sold at an extreme markup (see: 788% Profit on Movie Theater Popcorn). Clearly, without the concessions these movie theaters would go broke.

Why aren’t movie theaters selling and delivering popcorn? There’s Doordash, Ubereats, etc. I’d think this would give at least some revenue to theaters from their businesses that literally are making $0 while shuttered. Some independent theaters are doing this but not the big three. They just shuttered and furloughed a bunch of their employees. They didn’t even try.

On that front, I can see why landlords would feel a little put off. No attempt to use any of that real estate to generate any kind of revenue makes little sense. The flip side of that is that rent seems ridiculous to me. Maybe it’s in a prime location, I don’t know the details, maybe it is well worth that price, but that is some real difficult math to wrap your head around for a viable business model at the least.

Put all this together and add to it the news that AMC is now holding out on reopening because there are no new movies to show? That just adds to the legal quagmire for this struggling industry giant.

AMC, open the theaters when it is safe to do so, there are plenty of movies to show — classic movies, if need be. Using the excuses not to reopen because now there are no new movies to show? That will likely not hold up in neither the court of public opinion or court that decides financial judgments against your business.