One of the largest cinemas in the U.S. is making its return to the public.
AMC made their official statement on social media that it will be reopening on July 15th after a four-month shutdown due to COVID-19 closing 600 venues. 450 locations will open on the 15th while the remaining 150 locations will remain closed. This will be in time for Disney’s Mulan that comes out on the 24th & Warner Bros.’ Tenet which will be released on the 31st.
CEO of AMC Adam Aron said in a statement, “Our next 100 years of making smiles happen officially begin at approximately 450 theaters across the United States on July 15th … I cannot emphasize enough how much care and attention to detail we have taken in developing AMC Safe & Clean, our absolute commitment to optimizing the health and safety of our theaters for our guests and associates.”
The theater will open in four phases. Phase 1 will have a 30% seating capacity. Non-recliner theaters, AMC will automatically block out every other row of seats for every showtime. Phase 2 raises auditorium capacities to 40%, and by Labor Day the chain is looking at 50% auditorium capacity. By Thanksgiving, the plan is for AMC to get 100% in time for Disney’s “Soul.”
With reducing the capacity in the beginning stages of reopening, it will help the theater practice social distancing. The cinema is also implementing new cleaning procedures, placing hand-sanitizing stations throughout its theaters, and encouraging contact-less and cash-free concessions.
AMC originally announced it will not have strict rules for guests wearing masks because “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy,” says Aron. It’s important to note that Donald Trump has made his stance on not wearing a mask. “We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask-wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary. We think that the vast majority of AMC guests will be wearing masks. When I go to an AMC theater, I will certainly be wearing a mask and leading by example.”
But they had a different tune following backlash on social media. “We think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests,” Aron said. “It is clear from this response that we did not go far enough on the usage of masks.”