Like most non-drive-in movie theaters in the Untied States, AMC movie theaters remain closed even as some parts of the country ease restrictions imposed to safeguard from the COVID-19 pandemic. And now we know just how much that has cost the theater chain: billions.
According to AMC’s first quarter filings, the rumors of “substantial doubt” AMC can survive the pandemic appear to be accurate. The company reported first quarter losses of $2.2 billion on Tuesday, according to Variety.
In a statement, the company said it is focused on its liquidity as it looks to fully reopen worldwide in July. Last week, the company said in filings that there were bankruptcy concerns, noting that “substantial doubt exists” about its ability to be “a going concern.”
“These are truly unprecedented times,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “We are confident we are taking the necessary steps on a broad array of fronts to ensure AMC’s future success as we navigate these turbulent and uncertain times.”
Hollywood effectively shut down due to coronavirus, with no new movies in production and most slated for release getting pushed to the fall. As the coronavirus pandemic spread and theaters shut down, the chain’s very profitable Stubs A-List subscription program was paused as well. The company has a fairly new on-demand streaming service of its own, but it clearly can’t make up the losses of hundreds of theaters sitting silent while months of rent and other overhead piles up.
AMC banned Universal Studios films in the middle of its closures after the studio found success outside of the theater model by releasing Trolls World Tour exclusively on-demand. The true fallout from all of that is yet to be determined, as is whether there will be the same number of AMC theaters to release movies in when they can reopen.
In an earnings call with analysts shortly after numbers were disclosed, Aron downplayed suggestions that the company might be forced to contend with a cash crunch.
“In the end, AMC will both succeed and prosper,” he said.
What’s clear right now is that AMC is taking massive losses while they remain dark, and despite hopes they can reopen in July it will be an uncertain recovery once people can go back to the movies. Or even whether they will once it’s safe to do so.