AMC Theaters: Risk Death And Disability To Watch Movie Reruns For 15 Cents!

from the hard-pass dept

Even before COVID-19, the brick and mortar movie industry was already struggling to adapt in the face of technological evolution. Now with a pandemic demolishing theater attendance, companies like AMC Theaters face an accelerated timeline as they attempt to cling to outdated constructs like movie release windows, sticky floors, and seventeen dollar popcorn, which were already showing their age in the 4K streaming era.

Theater chains haven't exactly been handling this pandemic thing all that well. When Comcast Universal began sending its movies straight to home streaming (you know, given that people don't want to die), AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron threw an apoplectic fit, insisting his chain would never again show a Comcast/Universal movie. After apparently realizing he didn't have any leverage to make those kinds of threats -- and negotiating to get an unspecified cut of the proceeds -- Aron and AMC agreed to a shorter 17-day release window. Baby steps, I guess.

It should go without saying that the scientific consensus is that the pandemic isn't going anywhere, and the problems it's creating are very likely to get worse as it collides with the traditional flu season this fall. Like so many who think they can just bull rush through factual reality and scientific consensus, AMC seems intent on opening a good chunk of its traditional theaters next week, and is hoping to draw crowds by offering 15 cent movie tickets on the first day:

"AMC Entertainment, which owns the chain, said Thursday that it expects to open the doors to more than 100 cinemas — or about a sixth of its nationwide locations — on Aug. 20 with throwback pricing for a day. AMC theaters have reopened in numerous international countries but have remained shuttered in the U.S. since March. The chain touted the reopening as “Movies in 2020 at 1920 Prices."

There's innovating, and then there's just denying the obvious. There's creative adaptation, and then there's business decisions that are literally putting people's lives at risk by encouraging mass public indoor gatherings during an historic pandemic that largely spreads, you know, indoors. Yes, the risk is mitigated somewhat by the fact AMC is requiring people wear masks, but there's obviously no guarantee your fellow theater patrons are going to comply, or that AMC will spend two hours and potential risk making employees enforce mask use in the dark.

Most of the films they'll be showing (Grease, Black Panther, and Back to the Future) are already on home video, so I'm not sure how many folks will be willing to risk death and potential lifelong disability to watch reruns. But hey, this being America, I suppose anything is possible. With all sympathy to theater industry employees, it may be time for AMC Theaters to begin considering a much harder pivot into a business sector that doesn't require denying obvious technological evolution and won't kill or disable its target audience.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: covid-19, movies, pandemic, theaters
Companies: amc theaters


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Aug 2020 @ 12:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Movies

    You are reading into his post something that is not actually there. To me it reads much more like he is insulting people because he thinks their views and beliefs are silly and is not arguing against them.

    In other words, in trying to defend your incorrect accusation of the ad hominem fallacy you are using the strawman fallacy.

    Congratulations Cdaragorn, you have earned a double logic fail!


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt

Tech & COVID is a new project by
Techdirt, with sponsorship from

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.