AMC to Close All US Theaters for 6 to 12 Weeks Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

AMC movie theaters across the United States will close Tuesday for at least six to 12 weeks, in compliance with local, state and federal directives due to the coronavirus, the company's leadership said Monday night. The chain, which as the largest in the nation boasts 630 locations and 11,000 screens, will remain flexible on reopening.

"We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres," AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said in a statement. "Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities."

Earlier on Monday, AMC's rival Regal decided to close down their entire chain until further notice. Before AMC shuttered, the number of theaters suspending operations due to the coronavirus were just above 3,000, including chains like Landmark Theaters, Cineplex Odeon and Alamo Drafthouse. Cinemark remains the last remaining mega-chain that hasn't paused operations.

"Goodbye for now. But we'll be back," read a poignant notice posted on the Alamo Drafthouse website early Monday evening. "When we reopen after this unprecedented and indefinite hiatus, it will be in a dramatically altered world, and in an industry that’s been shaken to its core. We’ll be in close contact over the coming days and weeks with our teams, suppliers, and colleagues on what these closures mean and what we plan to do next."

Theaters likely made the decision to close because governments are requiring people to stay at home amid the coronavirus scare, making it nearly impossible for anyone to head to the theater.

Along with closing down shop, AMC is temporarily stopping all A-List memberships for the time that their theaters will be closed, with no billing or payments occurring. "Members will be notified prior to this pause expiring and will have the option to choose to extend the pause for another month if they so desire. Additionally, any A-List member who did not renew their membership any time so far in calendar year 2020 will not have to wait the customary 6 months to rejoin," a statement read.

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The chain encouraged customers to use AMC Theatres On Demand, "which allows them to rent or buy movies from a selection of more than 3,500 titles, including recent and popular titles from every major studio." AMC Theatres On Demand can be accessed online or through the exhibitor's mobile app or Smart TVs.

Photo credit: Mario Tama / Staff / Getty