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Enlarge /. "So … a ticket to The Goonies in 2020 or would you prefer to minimize your COVID-19 risk?"
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Could someone pay you to step foot in a movie theater next week? AMC Theaters hasn't gone that far, but it will ask potential ticket buyers for $ 0.15 per ticket when they're ready to head off to an (old) movie night on August 20th.
According to Variety, the theater chain announced today that it will reopen 100 of its locations mid-pandemic this month. And as an advertisement to encourage fans to do so look the other way Despite the risk of COVID-19 spreading, AMC is offering tickets for one day at 1920s prices – $ 0.15 each plus tax. The company started this year but will begin its existence after COVID-19 with slightly less old films like Empire Strikes Back, The Goonies, Back to the Future and Inception.
If the recurring headlines don't reveal about another tenet delay, 2020 was a difficult time for theaters. Not only have these rooms been closed since spring, but their short and long-term futures also look bleak. COVID-19 continues to spread, making indoor activities with others (such as watching a movie in a cinema) quite unattractive. And the pandemic has also made Hollywood's production capability difficult, meaning a dry spell in the release pipeline seems inevitable at some point. In a summer filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AMC said it expected losses of between $ 2.1 billion and $ 2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
So AMC is needing revenue quickly, even if it's only $ 0.15 per ticket (and soon afterwards $ 5 per ticket for select old films). This is not the chain's first attempt to reopen. AMC had previously announced that it would resume reopening in mid-July in a larger rollout of 450 theaters before the theaters for Tenet and Disney's Mulan. Obviously, this did not happen as the virus impact increased in the US this summer. The former film has since been indefinitely delayed and may open overseas, while the latter is now going straight to Disney +.
For its planned reopening in July, AMC hit the headlines when Harvard Professor Dr. Joseph Allen (an expert on the intersection of building design and health sciences) came in to advise the chain on best practices that could improve the safety of their theater spaces. The company then made even more headlines when it initially said masks were not mandatory (against Dr. Allen's advice) and immediately reversed course after public outcry.
For this August attempt, AMC is currently advertising to potential ticket buyers with its pandemic logs at the top of its website. Everyone must wear masks (which can be purchased locally for USD 1 if necessary). Signage was positioned to encourage social distancing. The theaters will be 30 percent or less busy, with entire rows blocked for this purpose. Cash is not used in concession transactions, and no refills are made for popcorn or fountain beverages. AMC employees must go through daily temperature checks. Individuals with symptoms must self-quarantine and be symptom-free for at least 72 hours before returning to work. And the company has invested in additional cleaning, with HEPA filter vacuums hitting carpets every night ("proven to trap 99.97 percent of airborne particles," the company claims) and electrostatic disinfection sprayers being used in each theater in between screenings (these Sprays "maximize surface coverage by using negatively charged ions, so that the disinfectant particles wrap around and adhere to positively charged surfaces!").
But despite all the hyped health considerations, the risk / reward proposition of going to the theater to see movies you can find at home through VoD options doesn't seem to be for AMC. For example, reach out to the World Health Organization, which continues to warn people that the best way to minimize the risk of COVID-19 is to avoid the three Cs: crowded places, close-knit settings, and tight or enclosed spaces.