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demolishing theater attendance, companies like AMC Theaters face an accelerated timeline as they attempt to cling to outdated constructs like movie release windows, sticky floors, and seventeen dollar popcorn, which were already showing their age in the 4K streaming era.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. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 17 Aug 2020 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Come on Karl,

    "To date, we have not surpassed 170k deaths."

    With 4% of the global population you have over 25% of the covid death toll. Proportionally the US should, with a bare minimum of expected response similar to what the rest of the world ran with, have under 30k dead. Instead you've got more than five times that, AND a rampant spread which keeps upping the numbers.

    This year you guys have had one 9/11 worth of civvie deaths every two days. More dead than you lost soliders in World War 1. Three times as many dead as you lost soldiers in Vietnam.

    And no other nation in the world even comes close to your death tolls. To which THIS is your response;
    "but flat out misrepresenting and exaggerating the facts so you can rant your superiority."

    Bet your cultist ass we own being "superior" when even basic math escapes you to THAT degree.
    As for China;
    "Their delay in being forthcoming is in large part why the planet was caught off guard by this. "

    We're all mad at China about their coverup. Still, China screwed everyone the same way. The US was one of the last to be affected and ought to have seen how to prevent it by looking at everyone else who got hit first. That you are taking the hit the way you currently are? All on your leadership, by which we mean Trump, who spent all his time telling everyone it was nothing to worry about.

    "Also it should be noted that Trump tired to shut down air travel from China on Jan 31 and you all called him a racist monster, so he relented, then you BLAMED him for allowing travel in to the USA a few weeks later!"

    No one else had to do that - because everyone else closed ALL air travel until they had a handle on things. Had Trump done the same it would have been no problem - but closing air travel to and from China was meaningless once Covid-19 was outside China. So yes, he was simply catering to his narrative of "blame China and hide".

    HOW COME No other leader in the western world has managed to screw up to the point Trump has? Where do you place the blame for the US failing to meet the same pandemic response standard third world hellholes can easily meet?

    How come all you people ever have to say is "It couldn't be helped" when obviously all the rest of the world showed differently?


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.