Our current situation has led to months-long shutdowns for almost every place a crowd can gather, including concerts, restaurants, and movie theaters. In the case of the latter, the in-person experience can’t be entirely replicated at home, but movies like Trolls World Tour have proven that people are more than willing to give it a go (with AMC Theaters reacting with a Universal ban). Now the largest U.S. theater chain is declaring “substantial doubt” that it can continue operations after months of closures for over 1,000 multiplexes.
The theater chain’s public regulatory filings were noted by CNN, which reports that AMC Theaters will have lost up to $2.4 billion in this year’s first quarter. Continuing for months with “effectively no revenue” this quarter could lead to bankruptcy and eventual closure for the company. Although U.S. states are lifting restrictions in stages right now, and theaters are allowed to open in many places, the company still faces another great challenge — a barren release schedule:
“Even if governmental operating restrictions are lifted in certain jurisdictions, distributors may delay the release of new films until such time that operating restrictions are eased more broadly domestically and internationally, which may further limit our operations,” the company said.
The release-schedule issue won’t be solvable overnight, given that when tentpoles like Fast and Furious 9 began pushing back nearly a year on the calendar, other moneymakers soon followed suit. At this point, a few big titles (a Russell Crowe road-rage movie, along with Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984) still appear to be holding firm on release dates for summer, but will audiences return to theaters before fall? Hollywood Reporter quotes an analyst (Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter) that notes previous doubt about the theater chain’s liquidity, and he predicts that the company will “have to restructure completely” if the situation doesn’t dramatically improve by November. Many high-profile movies are lined up for fall, when the ball will be in theatergoers’ courts.