AMC Theaters is pushing back its planned reopening date due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the theater chain announced that its doors would remain closed until July 30 — rather than the previously planned date of July 15. The decision comes as multiple blockbusters delay their release dates and several states see massive coronavirus surges.
AMC Theaters shuttered locations across the country in March when the coronavirus containment failed in the United States. On Monday, the company's CEO and President Adam Aron told Deadline that it is pushing back its reopening even further, and planning to allow 450 and out its over 600 locations to resume operations at that time. Aron is still hopeful that the chain will be working at full capacity at the beginning of August, he said.
"We continue to devote extraordinary resources into our plan to operate our theatres with a hyper commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates, notably in the United States through our new AMC Safe & Clean initiative," Aron said. "Our theatre general managers across the U.S. started working full time again today and are back in their theatres gearing up to get their buildings fully ready just a few weeks from now for moviegoers. That happy day, when we can welcome guests back into most of our U.S. theatres, will be Thursday, July 30."
Throughout much of the outbreak, AMC had no reopening date at all in mind. It announced its plan for July 15 just two weeks ago, but since then, heavy hitters like Disney's Mulan and Warner Bros.'s Tenet have delayed their premiere dates. Right now, AMC's planned opening lines up with the premiere of Russel Crowe's new move Unhinged.
AMC has laid out its plans for sanitizing theaters in detail, hoping to assuage fans' fears. The company is partnering with Clorox to perform electro-static cleaning of seats and other surfaces between films.
Still, public health experts say that it would be safer for people to watch their movies at home until the coronavirus pandemic is behind us. Earlier this month, a panel of state health officials ranked various activities by how risky they are for a report by MLive. They rated going to a movie theater a 6 out of 10 — 10 being the most risky and 1 being the least risky.
On the other hand, fear of coronavirus transmission has caused a bit of a resurgence for the old drive-in movie theater model. With car windows mostly closed and little to no interaction with employees, these theaters can be a great way to get out of the house, catch a movie on the big screen and support a local business.