AMC orders Dark Winds series from George R.R. Martin & Robert Redford
July 9, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
AMC has given a green-light to Dark Winds, a Western noir thriller series based on the Leaphorn & Chee series by Tony Hillerman. The series has been created by Graham Roland (Jack Ryan) and will star Zahn McClarnon (Westworld) and Kiowa Gordon (Roswell, New Mexico). As you might tell from the headline, Dark Winds is also set to be executive produced by George R.R. Martin (Game of Thrones) and Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), an unlikely pairing to be sure.
Dark Winds takes place in the 1970s Southwest and follows two Navajo police officers, Leephorn (McClarnon) and Chee (Gordon), as "their search for clues in a grisly double murder case forces them to challenge their own spiritual beliefs and come to terms with the trauma of their pasts." Chris Eyre (Skinwalkers) will direct the pilot for Dark Winds, which is expected to premiere on AMC and AMC+ next year. The series will be filmed in and around Native American lands and has the full support of the Navajo Nation. "I am honored to be asked to star as the lead in this innovative series for AMC and to Executive produce," Zahn McClarnon said in a statement. "To have the support and to be a part of a team which is led by two iconic visionaries as George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford is something to which I’ve always aspired. I believe as Indigenous people we are in a new era of progress in TV and film representation." In his own statement, George R.R. Martin said:
Tony Hillerman was one of the greats, as every mystery reader knows. Down here in the Southwest, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee are as iconic as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Philip Marlowe, and Travis McGee. When my friends Robert Redford and Chris Eyre asked me to help bring Leaphorn and Chee back to television, I could not agree fast enough. We have great source material in Tony’s novel ‘Listening Woman,’ a great pilot script from Graham Rowland, a great director in Chris… and what a pair of leads, with Zahn McClarnon as Leaphorn and Kiowa Gordon as Chee! Our plan is to shoot in New Mexico, in and around Santa Fe and on the Navajo reservation, and we are bringing in as many Navajo and other Native Americans as possible, as writers, directors, cast, and crew, to capture all the magic and mystery and wonder of the Land of Enchantment. Thanks to AMC for making it possible. Tony Hillerman wrote a lot of amazing books, and it is our dream to adapt as many of them as we can.
Robert Redford added: "I read my first Tony Hillerman novel in 1986 while filming in New Mexico and was immediately hooked. Hillerman is a master storyteller, his writing is full of mystery and suspense, set amidst a background that blends traditional oral stories of Native American culture and landscape. I am happy to partner with George R.R. Martin and AMC on this project, and am especially grateful for the collaboration with President Nez and The Navajo Nation." Zahn McClarnon leading the series makes this a no-brainer for me and I can't wait to check Dark Winds out next year.
Interview With The Vampire: TV series to bare its fangs at AMC
June 24, 2021 by: Steve Seigh
After years of speculation and thirsting for some vampire-on-vampire action, Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE is headed to AMC.
AMC has ordered an eight-part series based on the book, which in 1994 was adapted into a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, and Christian Slater. AMC acquired the rights to Rice’s collection of novels last year, and the time has finally come to sink their teeth into the beloved material.
Interview with the Vampire isn’t the only property that AMC has plans for. The network is also looking to adapt the author’s Mayfair Witches series, with Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul producer Mark Johnson overseeing the project. Johnson, who has a deal set up at AMC, will be in charge of bringing Rice’s macabre universe to the small screen.
Rolin Jones, who co-created and served as showrunner for the first season of HBO’s Perry Mason, will act as the showrunner and writer of the Interview with the Vampire series. He’ll also serve as an executive producer while Rice and Christopher Rice will participate as non-writing executive producers.
“The challenge of adapting for television the groundbreaking and immensely compelling work of Anne Rice is both intimidating and exhilarating,” Johnson said. “Having previously produced films from such singular works, I recognize both the responsibility and the obligation we owe the material. I strongly believe that with AMC and Rolin Jones we are equipped to meet this challenge and to thrill and entertain both the loyal Anne Rice fan and the viewer who is just now discovering her work.”
“In 1973, a grieving mother and extraordinary writer began what would become the finest Vampire novel ever written, all respects to Mr. Stoker,” Jones said. “Nearly fifty years later we know what’s expected of us. We know how much this book and the ones that follow mean to their massive fan base. We feel you over our shoulders as we tend the Savage Garden. Louis and Lestat are coming out of hiding and we can’t wait to reunite them with you.”
Rice’s collection of novels are a treasured corner of the literary world, giving life to goths the world over with their stirring depiction of all things sinister and sexy. Adapting Interview into a proper television series has been whispered about for what feels like an eternity. It’s nice to see that it’s finally getting ready to rise from the dead.
Kevin Can F**k Himself TV Review
June 7, 2021 by: Alex Maidy
Plot: Allison McRoberts is a woman we all grew up believing we knew: the prototypical Sitcom Wife. She’s beautiful and can take a joke (though she’s usually the butt of them). And she’s married to a guy who must’ve won some sort of marriage lottery because she looks the way she does and he’s…funny. But what happens when we follow Allison out of her husband’s domain? When she finally wakes up to—and revolts against—the injustices in her life?
Review: The multi-camera sitcom is a relic of a much different era in network television. Earlier this year, Marvel Studios paid homage to the golden age of such comedies in the early episodes of WandaVision, harkening back to the wholesome work of Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore. In the new AMC series Kevin Can F**k Himself, we get a much darker and brilliantly twisted foray into network sitcoms, this time skewering contemporary shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and Kevin Can Wait. Blending the formulaic style of these shows with the darker reality happening when the main character isn't on screen, Kevin Can F**k Himself is one of the most original shows to come to television in a long time.
The first project for star Annie Murphy after Schitt's Creek, Kevin Can F**k Himself is vastly different than that fan-favorite series. From the opening scene, Kevin Can F**k Himself looks exactly like a cliche sitcom down to the set which is eerily similar to Ray Romano's house on his long-running CBS show. Allison McRoberts (Murphy) is the attractive spouse to the far less attractive Kevin (Eric Peterson), a cable repairman in Worcester, Massachusetts. Allison suffers her husband's zany schemes while his best friend and neighbor Neil (Alex Bonifer), Neil's sister Patty (Mary Hollis Inboden), and Kevin's father Pete (Brian Howe) look on. Formulaic hijinks ensue as a canned laugh track constantly plays over everything. That is until Kevin is no longer in the room. Once alone, we see Allison's world as a much starker reality with muted colors and no more laughter. It is in this shift that this series finds a balance that sets it apart from other shows.
Creator Valerie Armstrong (Lodge 49) and executive producers Rashida Jones and Will McCormack look into a dynamic that gives this series an added boost. It has always been apparent that the husbands on sitcoms land wives way out of their league and it is never acknowledged on screen. We also have a suspension of disbelief as to how all of the zany shenanigans can occur with minimal repercussions. This series imagines the emotional stress put onto Allison as she endures money-making schemes, wacky circumstances when the boss comes to visit, and all of the weird foibles of the supporting players. Once the cameras are off, Allison concocts a plot to escape from the rut her life has become and that is when things get really, really dark.
Annie Murphy looks the role you would expect on a network sitcom wife to be and she shines in the multi-camera sequences, but when the focus is put on her reality, she shines. Murphy is very talented at playing the dramatic as well as the dark comedy aspects of her character. The series takes on a serial narrative that connects the four episodes made available for this review while the sitcom plots vary from week to week. The balance between the two worlds shows the strength of the writers as scenes can shift abruptly but the show never loses momentum. Every time Kevin's sitcom world is on screen, you would think you are watching an actual sitcom. When it shifts outside of that world, the comparison between set design and character behavior is impressive.
Kudos goes to the entire cast here, especially Murphy and Inboden, the two characters we see in both the sitcom and real-world scenes. Both actresses are given some solid character building, something rarely afforded to female characters in traditional sitcoms. The downside is that while the series opens with aspirations to skewer sitcom conventions, it begins to get mired in the formulaic details of cable drama series. There are drugs, ex-lovers, and self-discovery all wrapped up in heavy Boston accents. Many times through the series I was reminded of the accents and small-town populace of HBO's Mare of Easttiown. Both that series and Kevin Can F**k Himself create a working-class setting that sets up more than it delivers.
Kevin Can F**k Himself utilizes the shifting formats well and it keeps the material moving along, but each world on it's own falls prey to the cliches of television comedy and drama. I was never bored watching the show and many times I got laughs from the non-sitcom scenes thanks to the dichotomy of the two genres. But, occasionally I began to feel that the writers were aping elements of shows like Ozark and Breaking Bad. This could be due to only seeing the first half of the season but I will reserve final judgement until I have seen the entire season. When considering the two styles together, the show becomes something original and unique, but I worry that it will lose some novelty if the narrative doesn't try something different than being a satire of blue-collar life or a revenge fantasy. Luckily, the cast and gimmick elevate Kevin Can F**k Himself from a high concept joke to a series worth watching.
Kevin Can F**k Himself premieres June 13th on AMC+ and June 20th on AMC.
AMC Theatres reportedly raising money to buy shuttered Arclight Cinemas
June 3, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Movie theaters are trying to make a big comeback following the toll that the pandemic put on the moviegoing industry for the last year. With A Quiet Place Part II & Cruella having a very healthy opening weekend a few days ago, movie theaters are looking to the future & AMC Theatres could very well be looking at a future where they acquire shuttered Arclight Cinemas & Pacific Theatres.
Earlier this year, it was announced that the Los Angeles Arclight Cinemas & Pacific Theatres would be closing their doors for good, including the iconic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard. While this next bit of news may upset some cinephiles who love the model that was established by Arclight, AMC Theatres could be swooping in to save them. "The Wrap" reports that AMC plans to raise $230.5 million for key acquisitions in the movie theater sector and this is when they confirmed that there are talks to acquire venues operated by the now-shuttered Arclight Cinemas & Pacific Theatres. AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron had this to say about the news:
"Given our scale, experience, and commitment to innovation and excellence, AMC is being presented with highly attractive theatre acquisition opportunities. We are in discussions, for example, with multiple landlords of superb theatres formerly operated by Arclight Cinemas & Pacific Theatres."
AMC plans to raise the funds via a sale of 8.5 million shares to Mudrick Capital Management. AMC raised $100 million from Mudrick back in December as part of a "debt offering for needed capital" while most of its theaters remained closed. AMC has seen a surge in their stock, but some say this could be part of the Reddit-influenced run on AMC stock, something that happened earlier this year along with GameStop stock. AMC seems confident despite the reason for the stock surge. Aron said "This transaction underscores the real value of having some authorized share capital available for us to opportunistically capitalize on shareholder value creation possibilities as and when they arise. With our increased liquidity, an increasingly vaccinated population, and the imminent release of blockbuster new movie titles, it is time for AMC to go on the offense again."
This should be good news for most moviegoers but some aren't 100% behind the idea. While AMC is the biggest movie theater chain in the U.S., many feel that it doesn't necessarily make them the best. Arclight Cinemas really catered to the moviegoer and really pushed the notion of having luxury theaters long before other chains started to pick up on the idea. Would the Arclight change much under the ownership of AMC? We'd have to wait and see but some feels changes would be in store once the acquisition happens.
Are YOU excited AMC Theatres may buy shuttered Arclight locations?
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! TV series from Norman Reedus in development
May 24, 2021 by: Kevin Fraser
Norman Reedus captured our hearts as the formidable Daryl Dixon on AMC’s The Walking Dead, and it seems that the actor will be continuing his relationship with AMC as Deadline has reported that he’s developing a series based on Russ Meyer’s cult classic Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! for the network.
“I’ve been watching Russ Myers’ film since I was a kid, wearing my Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill! shirt to school,” said Reedus. “It’s safe to say I’m beyond inspired by Russ’ style of filmmaking and I am over the moon excited for the opportunity to reimagine this story for the modern world.” The original 1965 film followed three go-go dancers as they set off on a spree of kidnapping and murder in the California desert, and Deadline says that Reedus’ TV show will “pay homage to the original but also go beyond the fast cars and karate kicks to center in on a strong of strong female characters and overturning of cultural norms that was deeper in the bones of the movie.” The Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! project is still in the early stages, but Norman Reedus will serve as executive producer through his bigbaldhead production banner and has the full support of Russ Meyer’s estate.
Production on the eleventh and final season of The Walking Dead is well underway, but Norman Reedus’ time with the zombie franchise is far from over as he’s slated to reprise his role of Daryl Dixon in a spin-off series that will also feature Melissa McBride’s Carol Peletier. The final season of The Walking Dead is set to debut on AMC on August 22, 2021.
The GameStop Reddit saga is getting the feature film treatment.
February 1, 2021 by: Gaius Bolling
Well, that didn’t take long. Hollywood is usually pretty quick to jump on a sensational story so it should come as no surprise that the recent GameStop/Reddit stock saga, which already has been playing like a movie itself, is getting the feature film treatment. MGM has landed the rights to Ben Mezrich’s book proposal “The Antisocial Network” which will focus on the recent Wall Street-GameStop craziness.
“The Antisocial Network” book proposal focuses on a ragtag group of amateur investors, gamers, and internet trolls who brought Wall Street to its knees during a particularly crazy week for the stock market. The story only gets more Hollywood because this event is barely a week old but Mezrich and his reps were able to take the book proposal on the market at the end of the week and by Friday MGM rushed in to acquire the rights.
I had to really focus on what exactly went on with this story for it to take off but once you have all the moving pieces in place, it’s pretty fascinating to dive into. A group of amateur investors from the Reddit page called “Wall Street Bets” banded together to put the squeeze on at least two hedge funds that bet that the shares for GameStop would fall. The hedge funds were shorting GameStop’s shares thinking that its stock would see a further decline. In order to stick it to the man, the amateur investors began pushing GameStop in the opposite direction by buying shares and stock options which caused GameStop’s market value to increase over 1,700% since December. When it was all said and done, the market value for GameStop rose over $10 billion between Tuesday and Wednesday last week.
Noticing what their amateur investing was doing for the struggling GameStop brand, more newcomers to the stock game began looking at stocks that seemed doomed to take a fall like Nokia and AMC. The strategy began to pay off with those companies as well which caused a major controversy when the trading app RobinHood began putting restrictions on certain stocks. Apparently only the rich are allowed to get richer.
It’s unknown where Mezrich’s story will end since this is still an ongoing turn of events but it should make for a pretty interesting motion picture. The project brings MGM’s Michael DeLuca back together with Mezrich as they adapted his book “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal”, into the Academy Award-winning THE SOCIAL NETWORK. If they can make the creation of Facebook into a compelling story, I’m dying to see what they do with this.
Are YOU interested in seeing a film based on the GameStop/Reddit chaos?
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Steven Soderbergh doesn’t believe movie theaters will go extinct
December 7, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
The future of the movie theater business is the topic of hot conversation because the COVID-19 pandemic has put into question just how viable exhibition will be as movie theaters nationwide remain shuttered and studios have pursued other options to release their films. Warner Bros. still has the industry reeling with their decision to release all seventeen of their 2021 films on their HBO Max streaming service on the same day they debut in theaters. Universal Pictures has made deals with AMC and Cinemark to shrink the theatrical and streaming window and one has to believe that others won’t be too far behind. Despite the future looking murky at best, director Steven Soderberg has put in his two cents on the matter and he believes that the movie theater business is here to stay.
During an interview with “The Daily Beast“, Soderbergh was asked if current developments meant that movie theaters would be going extinct and he doesn’t seem to think so:
“No. Not at all. It’s just a reaction to an ecomonic reality that I think everybody is going to have to acknowledge pretty soon, which is that even with a vaccine, the theatrical movie business won’t be robust enough in 2021 to justify the amount of P&A you need to spend to put a movie into wide release. There’s no scenario in which a theater that is 50 percent full, or at least can’t be made 100 percent full, is a viable paradigm to put out a movie in. But that will change. We will reach a point where anybody who wants to go to a movie will feel safe going to a movie.”
Soderbergh’s response is optimistic but it also takes a long-term view of the film industry into consideration. Even he believes that 2021 won’t be the year to turn this all around but he also seems hopeful that things will get better and moviegoers will feel safe going to the movies again. He doesn’t seem convinced that the next few months along will decide the fate of the theatrical experience. At the end of the day, Soderbergh believes that the profits that can be made from a movie that makes a killing at the box office are way too robust for studios to fully give up on the theatrical model:
“I think somebody sat down and did a very clear-eyed analysis of what [the current global medical emergency] is going to do in the next year, even with a potential vaccine, and said, I don’t see this as being workable in 2021. Because let’s be clear: there is no bonanza in the entertainment industry that is the equivalent of a movie that grosses a billion dollars or more theatrically. That is the holy grail. So the theatrical business is not going away. There are too many companies that have invested too much money in the prospect of putting out a movie that blows up in theaters-there’s nothing like it. It’s all going to come back. But I think Warners is saying: not as soon as you think.”
I think Soderbergh does have a point that these massive tentpole releases bring in too much money for studios to completely abandon movie theaters. It’s my opinion that the future is going to be a hybrid of the two models moving forward. I feel like lower-tier releases will be considered more strongly for streaming while event films will still be touted for a big-screen release. That seems like the new normal we’re moving in on as studios have been forced to realize a one size fits all approach won’t necessarily work moving forward.
Do YOU agree with Soderbergh’s assessment about the future of movie theaters?
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AMC has some harsh words for Warner Bros. HBO Max release plans
December 3, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
Although we've certainly become accustomed to some unorthodox release strategies over the past year thanks to COVID-19, the cinematic world was still dealt a bit of a shock when Warner Bros. announced earlier today that they would be releasing their entire 2021 slate simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. It's a grand move for this strange new world, but not everyone is happy about it.
AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron responded to the big announcement and it's clear that he's not pleased, saying that WarnerMedia will be sacrificing a "considerable" profit if they move forward with these plans.
These coronavirus-impacted times are uncharted waters for all of us, which is why AMC signed on to an HBO Max exception to customary practices for one film only, Wonder Woman 1984, being released by Warner Brothers at Christmas when the pandemic appears that it will be at its height. However, Warner now hopes to do this for all their 2021 theatrical movies, despite the likelihood that with vaccines right around the corner the theatre business is expected to recover.
"Clearly, Warner Media intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division, and that of its production partners and filmmakers, to subsidize its HBO Max start up," Aron continued. "As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We will aggressively pursue economic terms that preserve our business. We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject." It remains to be seen what the following year will bring, even with vaccines rolling out, but Aron is expecting that "moviegoers soon will be able once again to delight in coming to our theatres without any worry."
When it was first announced that Wonder Woman 1984 would be the first Warner Bros. film to release simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max, AMC said that they were "fully on board" with the plan. "For many months, AMC has been in active and deep dialogue with Warner Brothers to figure out how best this cinematic blockbuster could be seen at AMC Theatres in these unprecedented times," Aron said at the time. "Given that atypical circumstances call for atypical economic relationships between studios and theatres, and atypical windows and releasing strategies, AMC is fully on board for Warner Brothers' announcement today." Although one film released in this fashion may have been okay, it's clear that AMC was caught by surprise by the studio's plans; in fact, Deadline says that most major exhibitors only received a heads up from WarnerMedia an hour before the plans were announced to the public.
Fear the Walking Dead season seven confirmed at AMC
December 3, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
When The Walking Dead debuted a decade ago, I certainly didn't envision that the series would go on to spawn an entire franchise with multiple shows. Although the flagship series will be coming to an end with its eleventh season, the companion series will continue as AMC has announced that they have officially renewed Fear the Walking Dead for a seventh season.
— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) December 3, 2020
Fear the Walking Dead is currently in the midst of its sixth season, and as I haven't watched the series for a number of years, I couldn't even begin to tell you what the heck is going on currently. In addition to Fear the Walking Dead, the flagship series will be back with six additional episodes starting on February 28, 2021, before launching into an expanded eleventh and final season of 24 episodes. There's also a spin-off series that will focus on Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride), as well as a trilogy of Rick Grimes movies that will see the return of Andrew Lincoln. The first season of The Walking Dead: World Beyond recently concluded, with a second and final season on the way, and there's also an anthology series, Tales of the Walking Dead, in development that has been described as "an episodic anthology with individual episodes or arcs of episodes focused on new or existing characters, backstories or other stand-alone experiences." Good lord, save some zombie stories for the rest of the class.
AMC Theatres: Stock climbs 22% after announcement of New York reopenings
October 20, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
In a sign that moviegoing could be coming back to life in New York, AMC Theatres announced that they will be reopening a dozen locations in New York state by October 23, 2020. The news comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that movie theater locations in New York, but outside of New York City, could reopen under strict safety guidelines.
The news caused AMC's stock prices to surge by 22%, which is good news for the chain as they are on the brink of bankruptcy and speculating they could be out of cash by the end of the year. With the reopening of New York, AMC will be operational in 44 of the 45 states where it has theaters. The New York locations opening are in Long Island – which is part of the New York City DMA. AMC CEO Adam Aron had this to say about the reopenings in New York:
“The reopening of movie theatres around the country is essential to the theatrical industry and the entire entertainment ecosystem. It has become clear that movie studios are not willing to release blockbuster product until key major markets are open. Therefore, it is a monumental step in the right direction for our entire industry that theatres are starting to open across the state of New York. We thank Governor Cuomo and local leaders in our New York communities for allowing guests to return to AMC at several locations throughout the state. We continue to work closely with state and local authorities about the reopening of New York City, which we now hope with increasing confidence is not far away. We continue to see state and local governments all across the United States recognize the strong steps we have taken through AMC Safe & Clean to ensure that we are reopening responsibly and with a focus on the health and safety of our guests and associates are working exactly as intended.”
The reopening of movie theaters comes with precautions in place as audiences will be limited to 25 percent capacity, noted as up to 50 people per showing. Theaters will only open outside of New York City in counties that are below 2 percent COVID-19 positivity on a 14-day average and have no "cluster zones." Safety precautions also include the wearing of masks at all times except when seated and eating and drinking and social distancing between parties. Assigned seating will be required in all theaters. Governor Andrew Cuomo had this to say about the reopenings:
"We hit 160,000 tests in one day, which is a record number and the highest we've ever done. When you're doing that level of tests you get down to the block level. And then, when you start to see a cluster, you oversample in that cluster, so you get even more data. Beginning October 23, movie theaters outside of New York City will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to 50 people maximum per screen. This is outside of New York City in areas that have infection rates below 2 percent on a 14-day average and have no cluster zones."
AMC Theatres expects to have 530 of its 600 U.S. locations open by the end of the month and the chain also recently announced that they have recently started doing private theater rentals, which have done well for Cinemark and the Alamo Drafthouse in recent weeks. I'll take any good news for the movie theater experience and this is a step in the right direction for exhibitors. Hopefully, New York City isn't too far behind if these reopenings go well because that will be a true win for the industry as we head towards the end of 2020 and into 2021.
AMC & Cinemark Renting out their Theaters for Just $99 per screen!
October 18, 2020 by: Mike Catalano
Who wants to go to the movie theater?! Yes, I know that isn’t exactly something we’ve been hearing much of lately. It sucks because theaters are now on the verge of going out of business. HOWEVER, to offset these 6-feet-apart times, AMC and Cinemark have come up with a very cool idea:
In an effort to get more people in theater locations, the theaters announced they will offer private movie showings for $99 for up to 20 people. This special-edition offer is available in almost all states and Washington, D.C. It features past movie classics such as HOCUS POCUS, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, JURASSIC PARK and MONSTERS INC. A number of current movies, including TENET and Oscar-frontrunner (kidding) THE WAR WITH GRANDPA are also available starting at $149 plus tax. Food can be catered for an additional fee of $250.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m into this! What do you guys think?! Let us know below!
AMC Theatres: Exhibitor may file for bankruptcy after stalled reopening
October 14, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
On the heels of announcing that they may run out of cash by the end of 2020, those in the know on Wall Street think that the nation's largest theater chain may have to file for bankruptcy due to the fact that their cash flow problem won't be resolved even by early 2021.
According to an SEC filing, “There is a significant risk that these potential sources of liquidity will not be realized or that they will be insufficient to generate the material amounts of additional liquidity that would be required until the Company is able to achieve more normalized levels of operating revenue." Due to this, a Wall Street analyst says “I really don’t know how they don’t go bankrupt. They should be out of cash by the end of January. And most companies don’t file when they are minus ten million in cash. The attorneys have to be paid.”
Since the announcement that they may be out of cash by the end of the year, AMC shares plunged 13%. By comparison, Cinemark, Marcus, and National CineMedia fell, respectively, 8%, 7.2%, and 9%. All had stabilized in after-hours trade. AMC has acknowledged that they are in a very tight corner. It has about $5 billion in debt and high debt means high-interest expense. AMC, which is majority-owned by Chinese conglomerate Wanda, racked it up pre-pandemic with a string of acquisitions, dividend payments, and upgrades to its theaters. For comparison's sake once again, Cinemark has said it has about 17 months of liquidity and less than half the debt of AMC.
As a part of AMC's SEC filing, the theater chain said it had raised close to $40 million in a stock sale but its cash burn is about $115 million a month and as of August 30 it had about $500 million in funds. The company said today it is considering asset sales, joint ventures, the sale of minority investments, and new rounds of stock or bond sales. It recently sold off its Baltic theaters and had been in talks to divest its Nordic cinemas as well.
This isn't the first time that AMC Theatres has flirted with bankruptcy during the pandemic. Soon after their doors shuttered back in mid-March, talk began circulating that they were in danger of not being able to reopen if they remained closed for too long. It was then that bankruptcy talks began but AMC CEO Adam Aron put those talks to rest when AMC restructured its debt in July giving it some runway but that can only last so long if moviegoing doesn’t resume properly. AMC has opened more than 80% of its U.S. theaters but a lack of new film content drove an 85% same-theater attendance decline and the lack of play in Los Angles and New York, where theaters have yet to reopen, became a huge nuisance to their reopening plans. To put it in perspective, 17% of theaters yet to reopen in those prime areas generated 23% of AMC’s 2019 domestic revenue.
Do YOU think AMC will be forced to file for bankruptcy? What do YOU think their future holds?
AMC Theatres could run out of cash by the end of the year
October 13, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
AMC Theatres is back in the danger zone after shuttering its doors back in March and gradually reopening since the end of July. The global pandemic has taken a toll on exhibitors nationwide and AMC is no exception. Coming on the heels of Regal Cinemas deciding to temporarily close its U.S. locations due to a lack of new content from studios to show moviegoers willing to go to the movies, AMC Theatres is now saying they're having a cash problem and they could be fresh out by end of the year or early 2021 if moviegoers don't return to cinemas in greater numbers.
The world's largest exhibitor noted that attendance at the 494 of its 598 U.S. locations that it has opened in recent weeks is down approximately 85%. Attendance is limited in reopened states due to social distancing restrictions and huge markets such as Los Angeles and New York have yet to give the go-ahead to reopen theaters in their area. The theater chain is also suffering from a lack of blockbusters hitting the big screen thanks to studios shifting them to later dates in 2021. Their argument is that it isn't feasible to debut a major release when movie theaters are closed in major cities. AMC had this to say in a recent financial report:
"Given the reduced movie slate for the fourth quarter, in the absence of significant increases in attendance from current levels or incremental sources of liquidity, at the existing cash burn rate, the Company anticipates that existing cash resources would be largely depleted by the end of 2020 or early 202. Thereafter, to meet its obligations as they become due, the Company will require additional sources of liquidity or increases in attendance levels. The required amounts of additional liquidity are expected to be material."
AMC is said to be exploring several options, having already heavily leveraged and recently renegotiated its debt to improve its balance sheet. The options include packing an additional debt or exploring equity financing; renegotiating lease payments with landlords; selling theaters or other assets; and exploring joint-venture opportunities. The chain is currently burning more cash than it is making to keep theaters open and operational and they noted that it is difficult to predict how much money it will need to raise:
"There can be no assurance that the assumptions used to estimate our liquidity requirements and future cash burn will be correct, or that we will be able to achieve more normalized levels of attendance described above, which are materially higher than our current attendance levels, and our ability to be predictive is uncertain due to the unknown magnitude and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic."
This turn of events is even more troubling for the moviegoing experience which seems to by dying a slow death due to the pandemic. I really hope these places can turn things around because I do not want to see movie theaters go under by any means.
What do YOU think will happen with AMC Theatres in the future?
Drive-In movie theater releases can now qualify for Oscars
October 9, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
Having to adjust to the moviegoing climate during the times of the pandemic, The Academy is adjusting the rules a bit for movies that debuted at drive-in movie locations. Given the fact that traditional movie theaters were shuttered back in March with some reopening within the last few weeks in certain markets, thanks to a new amendment, movies will now be allowed to use dive-in screenings to meet the requirements for an Oscar-qualifying run.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to allow drive-in screenings as part of theatrical qualifying release, according to a new report via “The Hollywood Reporter.” Movies can also still be released in traditional theaters but, given current circumstances, that is trickier than it would have been in previous years. You can take a look at the new qualifying terms below:
“1. Films which are intended for theatrical release, but are initially made available through commercial streaming, VOD service or other broadcast may qualify by making the film available on the secure Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days of the film’s streaming/VOD release or broadcast. 2. Films may qualify with a traditional theatrical release, completing a seven-day run in one of six qualifying cities (Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco/Bay Area, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta), screening at least three times daily, with at least one screening between 6 pm and 10 pm daily. Additionally, drive-in theaters in these cities will now qualify as a commercial venue, however, the screening requirement will be adjusted from three times daily to once daily. Films that have a theatrical release are not required to submit to the Academy Screening Room within 60 days, it is optional.”
This is another win for drive-in movie locations which, in a year that has seen bigger movie theater locations flounder, has allowed these relics of the past to soar. They have been a huge part of the box office, no matter how minuscule, since the pandemic forced locations like AMC, Cinemark, and Regal to go dark. Earlier in the year, the Academy had amended its rules to allow for streaming movies to qualify. Typically, a streaming service like Netflix would still need to give a movie a qualifying run in theaters. Studios now have multiple options when it comes to positioning a movie for a possible Oscar run. It is expected that these changes will be temporary but, given how much uncertainty is looming when it comes to the future of the movie business, long-term changes will certainly be needed and I wouldn’t be surprised if these changes didn’t stay in place for the foreseeable future.
Do YOU think this was a necessary change for the upcoming Oscar season?
The Hollywood Reporter
AMC & Cinemark vow to stay open following Cineworld & Regal’s shutdown
October 6, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
In the wake of Cineworld’s decision to shut down its U.K. locations and Regal U.S. cinemas, AMC Theatres and Cinemark have vowed to stay open during a truly trying time for exhibitors.
Cineworld and Regal plan on temporarily shuttering their downs by end of business on Thursday in the wake of another high-profile film, NO TIME TO DIE, shifting its release date from November of this year to April 2021. Since the latest James Bond entry was moved on Friday, DUNE became another tentpole release to vacate the 2020 calendar by moving nearly a year to October 1, 2021. As of now, Pixar’s SOUL and WONDER WOMAN 1984 remain the only major releases on deck in 2020. SOUL hits screens on November 20, 2020, while WONDER WOMAN 1984 plans on opening on Christmas day. The lack of new content prompted Cineworld and Regal to make their decision to close but AMC and Cinemark plan on riding 2020 out an vowing to be there for moviegoers that still want to go to the movies.
More than 80% of AMC’s U.S. circuit is open and an even higher share of the chain’s international theatres across Europe and the Middle East are open with more than 90% of its Odeon Cinemas Group across Europe and 100% of the chain’s locations in the Middle East. In addition, AMC is actively planning to open more of its theatres, especially in New York and California, when authorized to do so by state and county officials. New York and Los Angeles County locations being offline is the main reason why major studios have moved their major releases off the 2020 release slate because they’re the two biggest box office markets in the States. If they’re not open, studios feel as if it will significantly hurt the return on investment for their big-budget films. There are rumors that Los Angeles County could be a few weeks away from reopening its doors but there is no foreseeable plan for New York locations to reopen as New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo stands firm on not reopening cinemas. AMC CEO and President Adam Aron had this to say about their decision to stay open:
“We take great comfort in knowing that literally millions of moviegoers have already visited our theatres. They have done so in part because of our AMC Safe & Clean protocols, developed in consultation with Clorox and faculty of the Harvard University School of Public Health. Our guests are telling us that our theatres have never been cleaner and that they recognize the great effort AMC is making to keep them healthy and safe. Fortunately for AMC, our groundbreaking agreement with Universal Studios announced earlier this summer puts AMC in a position where we can open our theatres when others may feel the need to close. We are fully comfortable showing Universal films in our theaters, even as they implement premium video on demand as we have mutually agreed. This is because AMC will share in premium revenues coming from their early availability in the home.”
Cineworld Boss Mooky Greidinger made it clear that they believe New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was squarely to blame when it came to the financial blow to cinemas in the U.S. Greidinger doesn’t fault the studios, which have been switching up release dates on a weekly basis, leaving a virtually tentpole-deserted calendar for the rest of the year amid the COVID pandemic. Rather, the major factor for the veteran exhibitor is that the studios “don’t see movement in New York.” Greidinger was confused as to why the Governor allows in-restaurant dining, bowling alleys, casinos, and others to reopen, but he will not allow cinemas. In their brief discussions, Greidinger has simply said that “Cinemas are not essential.”
The fact that AMC and Cinemark plan to stay open could mean that their business levels may tick up since Regal will be out of the equation until at least 2021. Regal in the pre-pandemic marketplace fueled 18% of the domestic box office and that share fell to about 13%-14% during the pandemic. It’s very possible that AMC and Cinemark could grab a piece of what Regal is leaving behind and be able to stay afloat through 2020 and into the new year when a plethora of delayed films will begin to reopen.
Do YOU think it’s smart for AMC and Cinemark to remain open?
Shudder scares up 1 million total subscribers
September 23, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
Shudder is hitting a scary good milestone as we head into the month of October. The streaming service, which is focused on horror, thrillers, and the supernatural, has surpassed 1 million total subscribers.
AMC Networks debuted Shudder back in 2015 and you might be thinking that a million subscribers in five years aren't all that much but Shudder's streaming model has been much different from their larger media rivals launching mass-audience services like HBO Max, Peacock, and Disney+. Shudder is a very niche service but if you love horror, it has been a growing destination for the genre and it has only gotten better since AMC launched it. AMC executives have projected the company will end 2020 with close to 4 million total subscribers across Shudder and streaming siblings Acorn, UMC, and Sundance Now.
Shudder saw a surge in subscribers when Creepshow premiered on the streamer last September. Original programming is the key to any streaming service that wishes to grow and Shudder has found its footing with the aforementioned Creepshow and the original series, Cursed Films, which premiered last year and is currently working on its second season along with Creepshow. Original films like THE ROOM, Z, THE BEACH HOUSE, and HOST have also garnered more interest in Shudder while their hosted movie show, The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs, has generated significant social media buzz. Miguel Penella, AMC Networks SVOD President, had this to say about Shudder's recent growth:
"The addition of original series and movies turbocharged our growth and turned Shudder into a must-have service for anyone interested in great horror, thriller or supernatural entertainment. Our relentless focus on quality programming, innovative content and finding the best up-and-coming creators has enabled Shudder to break out in the crowded world of subscription services."
Shudder has also made the move to expand internationally. The streaming service launched in Australia and New Zealand in August which is an expansion of its presence in the U.S., Canada, Germany, the UK, and Ireland.
Are YOU subscribed to Shudder?
The Walking Dead: World Beyond trailer takes us 10 years into the future
September 8, 2020 by: Steve Seigh
AMC has unleashed a new trailer for THE WALKING DEAD: WORLD BEYOND, the two-season limited event series created by Scott Gimple and Matthew Negrete. The trailer introduces fans to a group of young survivors called the "Endlings" – Iris (Aliyah Royale), Hope (Alexa Mansour), Elton (Nicolas Cantu), and Silas (Hal Cumpston) – who ten years after the apocalypse, leave their home in Nebraska in search of a better, more stable existence. Unfortunately, the world remains dark and is full of terrors, and so the young explorers will have to face horrors both living and dead if they hope to reach salvation. Some will become heroes. Some will become villains. In the end, all of them will be changed forever. Grown-up and cemented in their identities, both good and bad.
While speaking with Entertainment Weekly earlier this year, The Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple explained what makes World Beyond different from the other shows in the franchise. "The first one is really the situation with which the characters have been living in, relatively, a first-world situation," Gimple said. "Relatively. Because it's focusing on young people, even the 'adults' in this are on the younger side, they've more or less grown up with this. There's a certain everydayness of this to them, though they've been behind walls. It's a very big deal for these characters to leave these walls…. It's an incredible act of bravery for some of these people to potentially step out into the world." Unlike other series in the franchise, World Beyond is set to be released in a limited, two-season format. While some are likely to be upset about the length of the new show, I'd say the limited format suits me just fine. There's little time for the show to outstay its welcome, and the thought of TWD presenting an idea that's complete from the start is something of a relief, no? Let the good times – and the zombie heads – roll!
The Walking Dead: World Beyond will debut on AMC on October 4, 2020, immediately following the tenth season finale of the flagship series.
AMC will have 70% of their locations open for Tenet this weekend
September 2, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
AMC will have about 420 of their 600 locations open this weekend and it’s perfect timing because TENET is set to go wide in the U.S. in markets that have allowed their theaters to reopen. It’s a sizable amount, even with limited capacity but Los Angeles County and New York are still out of play this weekend and they’re two of the biggest box office markets in the States. There is some more good news because New Jersey approved their theaters to reopen at limited capacity and they’re making a mad dash to make sure it’s done before Christopher Nolan‘s latest mind-bending effort officially goes wide.
The number of open locations for AMC Theatres will be about 70 percent. California was entirely out of play the last few weeks but certain cities are off the watch list and have been approved to begin reopening. This includes San Diego which signals the first will return for moviegoing in California. AMC has set Thursday, September 3, 2020, for those 420 locations to be on the grid and this coincides with TENET’S domestic release after an international debut that pulled in a not too shabby $53 million last weekend. Auditorium capacity at AMC will be limited per local regulations with San Diego running at 25 percent capacity when they open their doors. Adam Aron, CEO, and President of AMC Theatres had this to say about AMC’s latest move to open more of their locations:
“The first two weekends of operations have exceeded our expectations in terms of guests returning to the movies and in terms of their feedback about our extensive AMC Safe & Clean policies and procedures. Our comprehensive commitment to operating our theatres safely now includes social distancing through limiting ticket sales and automatic seat blocking, seamless contactless ticketing, greatly enhanced cleaning procedures, the availability of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes throughout our theatres, as well as a mandatory mask policy for all guests and crew members.”
Theaters in the U.S. have gradually been reopening, beginning two weeks ago with the wide release of Russell Crowe‘s UNHINGED. That film opened to a respectable $4 million and that was with a lot of locations still out of play. THE NEW MUTANTS opened to $7 million over this last weekend and the positive result is that it was an uptick from the $4 million launch of UNHINGED. TENET is bound to keep the increases going and I think it will do so in a sizable way but it will be hard to predict how big the opening weekend will be. TENET is more of an event film than the other two movies which mean more crowds and that could sway some moviegoers away but it could also be a coming home party for others that have missed the communal moviegoing experience.
AMC is expecting to announce further openings in California and New Jersey soon and I’m sure they’re hoping that Los Angeles becomes a part of that conversation VERY SOON. Aron also offered further assurance to moviegoers who are planning to visit AMC this weekend or in the coming weeks or months:
“We’re also closely monitoring local and state guidance, and we are complying with any additional capacity restrictions. In addition, we have invested millions for high tech solutions to sanitization and disinfection including electrostatic sprayers, HEPA vacuums and MERV 13 air filters. Guests returning to AMC can do so knowing that we’ve been in constant dialogue with top scientists and experts in public and cleaning about how best to reopen our theatres in ways that will be responsible and welcoming.”
Warner Bros. is being very strict with their guidelines for the movie theaters that are showing TENET and they also have limited the number of drive-ins that will be able to play it, despite the drive-in scene being the one thing that has kept the box office alive during the pandemic. The promising debut overseas for TENET last week does bode well for its domestic launch but international territories are a bit ahead of us in terms of safely running their theaters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Regal Cinemas will also have a lot of its screens open this weekend for TENET on top of the 70% AMC presence so this weekend box office will be one to watch and discuss when it’s all said and done.
Will YOU be seeing TENET this weekend? Is YOUR local AMC open?
AMC pulls the plug on NOS4A2 after two seasons
August 31, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
Based on Joe Hill's best-selling novel of the same name, NOS4A2 followed Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings), a young woman with the supernatural ability to track Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto), an immortal creature who feeds on the souls of children and deposits what remains of them into Christmasland – a twisted place of Manx's imagination where every day is Christmas Day and unhappiness is against the law.
The first season of the AMC series performed well in the ratings department, but the second season, which recently wrapped up, saw ratings fall by as much as half when compared to the previous season. We all know that that means, and NOS4A2 showrunner and executive producer Jami O'Brien took to Twitter to confirm that AMC has cancelled the series.
Well friends, I heard from AMC last week. We won’t be making a 3rd season of #NOS4A2 . It’s a bummer, but I’m grateful we were at least able to finish adapting the storyline from Joe Hill’s terrific novel… 1/4
— Jami O'Brien (@jami_obrien) August 31, 2020
CONGRATULATIONS to every single member of our phenomenal team on two seasons of weird and wonderful TV. I will miss seeing everyone back in Little Rhody this year, but I’m awfully proud of all we’ve done together… 2/4
— Jami O'Brien (@jami_obrien) August 31, 2020
THANK YOU to @joe_hill for all your generosity, imagination, and support, and for trusting us with Vic and Charlie, Maggie, Bing, Linda, Chris, Lou, Tabitha, Wayne, Millie, and all your flawed, complicated, and beautiful characters… 3/4
— Jami O'Brien (@jami_obrien) August 31, 2020
And THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to everyone who tuned in — especially to those who tweeted along with us each week — you made Sunday nights a lot of fun. Hope to do it again with you all somewhere down the road… xoxoxo 4/4
— Jami O'Brien (@jami_obrien) August 31, 2020
"Christmasland may live forever, but NOS4A2 will come to an end with the conclusion of season two," said AMC in their own statement. "We are so thankful to Jami O’Brien, Joe Hill and the entire cast and crew for two seasons of inspired, terrifying and thoroughly captivating and age-defying television. And thanks to the fans for climbing into the Wraith and coming along for the ride." Although I never got around to catching NOS4A2 for myself, from what I understand, the story was largely complete. Still, I'd imagine that fans of the show might be disappointed that the series won't be returning.
Bloodshot returning to the big screen after early VOD release post-shutdown
August 17, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
It’s more than likely that the Vin Diesel-led BLOODSHOT was one of the last films you saw before the COVID-19 pandemic caused movie theaters to shutter their doors nationwide. The film was released wide on the weekend of March 13, a week before the full movie theater shutdown & even during its wide opening, movie theaters began limited capacity seating in an attempt to limit the potential spread of the virus. Once the movie theaters closed, the decision was made to release BLOODSHOT and several other films early on VOD so some kind of profit could be made from the release. Now as movie theaters begin to reopen in several markets, BLOODSHOT is making a return to cinemas to make up some lost ground.
BLOODSHOT will return to AMC locations starting this August 20, 2020, the first day of reopening when movie tickets will cost 15 cents. Check our AMC’s tweet about the return of BLOODSHOT to their screens below:
BLOODSHOT released March 13th and had a 4-day theatrical run, so we’re bringing it back! See @Bloodshot starring @VinDiesel on the big screen starting 8/20 and earn double points! Get tickets now: https://t.co/JHGJVQyHAP pic.twitter.com/6ghB1hVxuK
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) August 14, 2020
BLOODSHOT wasn’t the only movie to get its planned theatrical release cut short. Pixar’s ONWARD was another big release that got sidelined while many studios opted for early at-home digital releases for major titles, some even nixing theatrical plans altogether in favor of streaming and VOD. A rep for AMC Theatres noted SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and I STILL BELIEVE will also make theatrical comebacks for the first week of reopening.
Based on the Valiant Comics title of the same name, BLOODSHOT follows a Marine who was killed in action, only to be brought back to life with superpowers by an organization that wants to use him as a weapon. The film also stars Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell, Talulah Riley, Lamorne Morris, and Guy Pearce.
Will YOU be checking out BLOODSHOT on the big screen even though it has been available for home viewing for months?
AMC Theatres releases a video showcasing their COVID-19 guidelines
August 14, 2020 by: Steve Seigh
As theater chains prepare to reopen their doors during an ongoing pandemic, AMC Theatres on Friday posted a video that highlights several steps the company is taking to ensure the safety of their guests. During the lead-up to cinemas reopening, many have expressed concerns about how theaters plan to monitor those who return to cinemas because surely, not everyone who agrees to the conditions will follow them to the letter.
In the video, AMC asks that guests secure tickets ahead of time for reserved seating so that socially-distant arrangements can be made. AMC also makes it clear that all guests and employees will be required to wear a mask. That said, the video also states that guests can remove their masks while enjoying food or drinks. This last bit sounds like a red flag to me, especially when you consider how long it takes to eat a large bucket of popcorn. I could go on, but we’ve got other details to cover.
— AMC Theatres (@AMCTheatres) August 14, 2020
AMC also states in the video that they will present guests with a simplified menu, in addition to having “thoroughly enhanced our cleaning procedures.” Per this last detail, AMC will now make use of HEPA filter vacuums, MERV air filters, and employees will disinfect auditoriums with electrostatic disinfectant sprayers before each showtime.
Unsurprisingly, adhering to the new guidelines will cost AMC a fair bit of coin, this after reporting a loss of $561 million during the theater chain’s most recent second quarter. That being the case, I’ll give you one guess as to who is going to have to help them make up the cost. That’s right, it’s you, the customer.
“It’s appreciatively higher,” CEO Adam Aron told Wall Street analysts during the company’s second-quarter conference call about the new cleaning costs. “We have electrostatic sprayers and all kinds of things — quadruple the cost — we can’t eat all these costs. We’re going to have to pass some of these costs on to the consumer.”
For the time being, AMC will have to arrange for physically distant seating, thereby creating a significant space between seats and groups of people. This will, of course, limit the number of people that can safely fit inside a theater, though AMC has assured investors that they can meet demand at just 50% capacity.
I don’t know, you guys. I love going to the movies, but the idea of paying more money for such an involved experience really bums me out. I commend AMC and other chains that are willing to go to such great lengths to ensure the safety of their guests and employees, but my immunocompromised ass won’t be there. What’s to keep someone from removing their mask on for the duration of the film? What happens when a sip of pop goes down the wrong pipe, and someone starts coughing their brains out? It’s likely going to create a scene, and disrupt the viewing experience more than it already is. I don’t mean to let my pants down on AMC’s best efforts, I’m simply not convinced that the mental and monetary cost of going to the movies is for me, at this time.
What do you think AMC’s new video and their plan to provide audience members with a safe, if compromised viewing environment? Let us know in the comments section below.
This is not a typo: AMC Theatres to charge 15 cents a ticket on opening day
August 13, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
AMC Theatres has had its doors shuttered since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it caused the chain to go through a financially traumatic period that almost threatened to close its doors permanently. So how does AMC plan to bring back moviegoers on opening day as they are set to begin reopening on August 20, 2020, beginning with 100 locations? They're paying tribute to the past by making tickets prices the price they once were back in 1920, for one day only!
Tickets at AMC locations, for one day on its opening launch, will sell for 15 cents! This is roughly the price of a ticket back in 1920 and it's the year that the company's founders, the Dubinsky Brothers, began operations with a single movie screen in Kansas City, Missouri. The major caveat here is that the movies that people will get to see for this price won't be new blockbusters like TENET. AMC Theatres will be showcasing catalog titles to start such a THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and BLACK PANTHER.
AMC is doing what they can as they embark on a phased reopening of its theaters in the United States with the goal of having at least two-thirds of its more than 600 locations operational in time for the movie that is looked at to save the moviegoing experience opens on September 3: Christopher Nolan's TENET. Unfortunately, this does not include venues in some of the more major markets that drive the box office such as Los Angeles and New York. Officials have yet to reopen cinemas in these areas due to public health concerns.
Beginning on August 21, 2020, AMC will bring out a few catalog titles in order to ease moviegoers into going to the movies again. Some of these films include the tenth anniversary of INCEPTION, as well as BACK TO THE FUTURE, GREASE, and GHOSTBUSTERS. These titles will run $5 a ticket at the AMC locations showing them. In the case of the few new movies that are opening ahead of TENET, such as the Russell Crowe road-rage thriller UNHINGED and THE NEW MUTANTS, they will run for 2020 prices at roughly $10, depending on the market you live in. Those two films open August 21 and August 28, 2020, respectively.
As for their once popular AMC Stubs A-List program, the theater chain is offering incentives to members by giving them a $10 credit to use through the end of October. The chain also pledges not to increase the prices of the subscription service through June 2021. The program enables users to see up to three movies a month for between $20 and $25. Subscribers will also decide when to reinstate their membership depending on when theater locations open in their respective markets. This is being done so they aren't charged for the program until they find a location near them to begin seeing movies at again.
The theater chain has also instituted new cleaning measures, protocols that their CEO Adam Aron said would have costs that will be "passed on to the consumers." This will result in higher ticket prices and higher prices at their concession stands sometime down the road. AMC venues will also be seated at a limited capacity so their guests can socially distance and both employees and audience members will be required to wear face masks.
I feel like AMC is doing what they can to get people back into their seats, especially given the mixed response to their passing of the bill for the safety protocols to their guests. There is no perfect strategy for these theater chains to reopen. This is truly an unprecedented time and if 15 cents for tickets on opening day is an enticing way to relaunch, I say go for it. At this point, it's a case of doing whatever works.
Will YOU attend an AMC on opening day for their 15 cent relaunch if one is open near you? The first round of openings includes theaters in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, Las Vegas, and other markets.
AMC Theatres will pass COVID-19 safety protocol costs to the ticket buyers
August 12, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
Will this make you want to go to AMC Theatres? Reopening a big movie chain such as theirs in the middle of a pandemic is going to come with expenses but word on the street is that some of those extra costs will be coming out of the hands of the consumers.
In a bid to keep patrons safe, new safety protocols will not come cheap and according to AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron during an investor call that comes to us via "Variety", these costs will be "passed on to the consumers," which means the price that moviegoers pay for movie tickets or good and beverages from the concessions stand will be higher than they were before the pandemic.
Also playing a part in this decision was AMC renegotiating its debt recently so the company could stay afloat. Aron told investors that the company has lost more than $500 million over the past financial quarter, which left AMC with a lot to catch up on. Aron said, "I think we survived the corona crisis and now we've just got to get back to running the company really well."
One has to wonder if the increased ticket and food prices, in order to help front the bill for the new safety protocols, will sit well with consumers. AMC may be having major financial trouble but so are countless people that have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A trip to the movies was already pricey and now it could possibly be more expensive. No word on if Regal Cinemas or Cinemark will be following suit in terms of covering the costs for their safety protocols but it will be interesting to see if they do or not.
Would YOU be ok with increased ticket and concession prices in order to pay for new safety protocols?
Cineworld thinks new Universal/AMC Theatre deal is bad for business
July 30, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres may have made a new historic pact to shrink the theatrical window down to a mere 17 days but don't expect Cineworld to follow suit. Cineworld, which owns Regal Cinemas, won't be following in the footsteps of AMC Theatres, at least according to Cineworld CEO Mooky Greidinger.
Greidinger, who oversees the world’s second-largest chain, told "Deadline" that "We do not see any business sense in this model" in regards to Universal and AMC's agreement for a 17-day theatrical window for movies, with an option to go on PVOD thereafter:
While we don’t know the full details and we are always analyzing any move in the industry, we will analyze it. People need to be aware that the first big movie from Universal is coming only in six months so there is no pressure here. But we clearly see this as a wrong move at the wrong time. Clearly we are not changing our policy with regards to showing only movies that are respecting the theatrical window.
Cineworld's response really should come as no surprise considering it echoes their response back in April when Universal and AMC were publicly fighting about the theatrical to PVOD window. During that time Greidinger said, "We make it clear again that we will not be showing movies that fail to respect the windows." Cineworld not being down with this new deal is significant because they own Regal Cinemas, which is the second-largest chain in the U.S. with 7,155 screens in 542 theaters in 42 states. Overall, Cineworld operates in 10 countries with 787 sites, counting 9,500 screens. If anyone thought other theater chains would be hopping on board with AMC on this new business model, they were sorely mistaken. Cinemark has yet to comment on the new deal but I have a feeling they will be on the side of Cineworld and Regal Cinemas. Back in June, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi mentioned on an earnings call that "We’re open to talking with studio partners about alternatives we can consider" in regards to theatrical and PVOD windows but they also said that "The big movies, the ones that really count, these movies from a financial standpoint have to go theatrical. It’s a $40 billion-plus business. In fact, in 2019, it was $42 billion worldwide. And in some cases half, or more than half of the revenue stream on big theatrical movies is coming from worldwide theatrical. You can’t just cut that out and think the economics are going to work. And honestly, the studios recognize that. Disney clearly does, Warners does, and I think Universal does on their big movies. And that’s why movies like F9, Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions: The Rise of Gru, these are all going theatrical because they want that high per cap revenue that they get out of theatrical."
I figured that the other theater chains wouldn't be down with this deal and that it would be one exclusively struck between Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres. It will be interesting to see if the business model does end up working and it makes other chains change their mind on it but I have a feeling it will continue to be a bone of contention as theaters reopen and new releases started hitting the big screen.
Do YOU agree wth Cineworld about their deal being bad for business?
Universal & AMC Theatres to shrink theatrical release window to just 17 days
July 28, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
As COVID-19 has largely kept theaters closed across the globe, movies which were slated for release during the past few months have either had their dates pushed back or have made the leap to PVOD or a streaming service. Universal Pictures has released a few films in this manner, including TROLLS WORLD TOUR, and it didn't sit exactly well with AMC Theatres, with CEO Adam Aron threatening that he would never again play any movies from Universal in his theaters. "It is disappointing to us, but [NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell's] comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice," Aron said. "Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat."
Thankfully, it seems that the two companies have made peace as they've made a multi-year agreement which will see the theatrical release window shrink down to 17 days. Following that time, Universal will have the option to make titles available on PVOD platforms, which includes AMC Theatres on Demand. That's not to say that every Universal film will wind up on PVOD after 17 days; if a film is still performing well, it will get to spend its full run in theaters. This will likely be the case for movies such as JURASSIC WORLD: DOMINION or FAST & FURIOUS 9, while movies which aren't expected to make a ton of cash in theaters will opt for an early PVOD release. In a statement regarding the new agreement, Adam Aron said:
AMC enthusiastically embraces this new industry model both because we are participating in the entirety of the economics of the new structure, and because premium video on demand creates the added potential for increased movie studio profitability, which should in turn lead to the green-lighting of more theatrical movies.
RELATED: AMC, Regal & Cinemark all postpone reopening plans
As Aron said, AMC Theatres will be receiving a cut of the revenues generated by the early PVOD release, but this deal is strictly between AMC and Universal. "This multi-year agreement preserves exclusivity for theatrical viewing for at least the first three weekends of a film’s release, during which time a considerable majority of a movie’s theatrical box office revenue typically is generated," Aron continued. "AMC will also share in these new revenue streams that will come to the movie ecosystem from premium video on demand. So, in total, Universal and AMC each believe this will expand the market and benefit us all. Focusing on the long-term health of our industry, we would note that just as restaurants have thrived even though every home has a kitchen, AMC is highly confident that moviegoers will come to our theatres in huge numbers in a post-pandemic world. As people enjoy getting out of their homes, we believe the mystical escape and magical communal experience offered at our theatres will always be a compelling draw, including as it does our big screens, big sound and big seats not to mention the alluring aroma of our perfectly prepared popcorn. Universal and AMC have partnered in bringing stellar movies to moviegoers for a full century. With this historic industry changing agreement, together we will continue to do so and in a way that should drive success for us both." There you have it folks. The typical theatrical release window is usually around 3 months, so 17 days is quite the departure from the way business has been done for years.
The Walking Dead’s tenth season finale will finally air on October 4th
July 24, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
The Walking Dead was set to wrap up its tenth season in April, but as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread, AMC announced that they would be unable to complete post-production on the season finale in time. "Current events have unfortunately made it impossible to complete post-production on The Walking Dead Season 10 finale," read the press-release, "so the current season will end with its 15th episode on April 5th. The planned finale will appear as a special episode later in the year."
During The Walking Dead's virtual Comic-Con panel, it was revealed that the tenth season finale will air on October 4, 2020 at 9pm ET on AMC; but wait, there's more! The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang also announced that six additional episodes, which will be considered part of the tenth season, will be shot and aired in early 2021, which brings the tenth season to 22 episodes total, the most episodes per season in the history of the series. Naturally, this means that the eleventh season of The Walking Dead will be delayed. The new spin-off series, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, will also debut on October 4, 2020 at 10pm ET, immediately after the tenth season finale of The Walking Dead, although I guess it's not exactly the finale anymore, is it? An extended clip of the opening moments of the new episode was also released, which you can check out below.
Greg Nicotero, who directed the season finale, teased last month that it's one of his favourites of the season. "It tees us up so well for Season 11 that it’s a little agonizing for me to not be able to talk about it," Nicotero said. "The last two minutes of the finale are gonna just… people’s jaws are gonna drop." We also learned earlier today that the sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead will debut on October 11, 2020, which means that October is going to be positively full of walkers.
Comic-Con teaser announces Fear the Walking Dead will return this October
July 24, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
With COVID-19 putting a halt to just about everything, it's no surprise that the release schedule of nearly the entirety of film and television has been affected. Fear the Walking Dead typically launches on AMC in either late-spring or mid-summer, but as production on the sixth season of the spin-off series was forced to shut-down in the middle of things due to COVID-19, it was uncertain when the series would debut or if it would be pushed entirely until production was allowed to resume.
Well, during today's virtual panel for San Diego Comic-Con, a new teaser trailer was released which announced that the sixth season of Fear the Walking Dead would debut on AMC on October 11, 2020. As someone who hasn't kept up on Fear the Walking Dead (or The Walking Dead for that matter), I don't know exactly what's going on here, but there's fear, dread, zombies, and a bounty hunter who seems keen to add Morgan's (Lennie James) head to his collection.
As far as the flagship series goes, the tenth season of The Walking Dead wrapped up prematurely earlier this year as AMC announced that they would be unable to complete post-production on the season finale in time. However, the "jaw-dropping" episode is still expected to debut later this year, and I'd imagine we'll hear a little more during its Comic-Con panel today.
AMC, Regal & Cinemark all postpone reopening plans
July 23, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
As has been the case whenever a major tentpole release pushes off its planned release date, AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas, and Cinemark have all postponed their planned reopenings. The news comes in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s TENET delaying its release indefinitely as major studios wait for theaters in major markets such as Los Angeles and New York City to come back online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
AMC Theatres announced that they will be postponing the reopening of its U.S. screens to “mid-to-late August.” The world’s biggest theater chain was set to have a phased reopening on July 15 with the hopes of being fully operational by July 24. The date was then pushed to July 30 late last month. A spokesperson for AMC had this to say about the new delay:
“This new timing reflects currently expected release dates for much-anticipated blockbusters like Warner Bros.’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan, as well as release dates for several other new movies coming to AMC’s big screens.”
Regal Cinemas has also put reopening on hold and unlike AMC, they have yet to reveal a new date that they will open their doors. They released a statement saying “Announcement of new reopening date coming soon.” Regal Cinemas had previously reported a reopening date of July 31 but they’re also following the lead of the studios by not reopening since films like TENET are now out of play. Regal once had a plan to start a phased reopening as early as July 10 but the constant shift in release dates for major films has had them jump off of those reopening plans and since nothing is certain as of this moment, Regal has decided to sit back and just see what happens before announcing a new date.
The third-largest theater chain in the U.S., Cinemark, has also made the decision to postpone its reopening plans as well. The movie theater chain had plans to open up again this week with older titles in order to prepare for new movies coming out in the following weeks. No new reopening date has been announced as of this writing but the company had this to say about the postponement:
“The company continues to evaluate availability of new studio content, status of the virus and local government regulations as it plans for the phased reopening of is U.S. theatres. All locations will reopen with greatly enhanced cleanliness, sanitizing, and safety measures at every step of the moviegoing experience.”
All three of these brands are being driven by the decisions of the studios. The more the studios postpone their films, the more the theatres will shift their reopenings as well. They both need each other so that’s why there is this frequent change in release and reopening strategies but it’s clear everyone is playing this all by ear and the situation is constantly evolving. I’m trying to be confident that we will have some form of moviegoing in 2020 but the way things are going, it’s becoming harder and harder to stay optimistic.
Do YOU agree with their decision to postpone their reopenings?
Beauty and the Beast tops box office on 18th week of movie theater shutdowns
July 21, 2020 by: Gaius Bolling
There are currently about 1200-1500 movie theaters back online across the U.S. that are mostly driven by drive-ins which continue to bring in significant money as the big three theaters (AMC, Regal, and Cinemark) mostly remain closed. On a weekend that originally saw TENET looking to dominate the box office, the number one movie in America is another catalog title and this time it’s from Disney.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST led all movies this weekend with an estimated $467,000 at 527 locations. Disney/Marvel also claimed second place with IRON MAN grossing $430,00 at 462 sites. This is a far cry from the massive opening weekend of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST when it opened the weekend of March 17, 2017. The film still holds the March record for the best domestic opening with $174.7 million. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST has grossed $504.5 million to date.
In the 18 weekends that AMC, Regal, and Cinemark have been closed, drive-ins continue to lead the pack and are accountable for the bulk of the grosses that you will see. IFC continues to make its product work on the drive-in circuit with THE WRETCHED grossing $1.7 million to date and THE RELIC soon approaching $1 million as well. The leading drive-ins over the weekend include the Fort Wyoming in Dearborn, MI; Cine-Drive In Saint Eustache, Quebec; the Mission Tiki 4 in Montclair, CA; the Van Buren 3 in Riverside, CA; and the Starlight 4 in Atlanta, GA.
This still doesn’t mean we’re close to any box office normalcy. With TENET delaying its release indefinitely due to Los Angeles and New York City not providing a clear reopening date for their theaters, a lot of the box office remains in limbo. Other August releases like MULAN, UNHINGED, or BILL AND TED FACE THE MUSIC, could likely move as well if Los Angeles and New York City locations don’t come back online soon. Until then, a few throwback releases get a second life and give the box office what little pulse it has left.
Have YOU checked out any classic titles at the drive-in?
Robert Kirkman says pandemic delay makes The Walking Dead movie even better
July 20, 2020 by: Kevin Fraser
After starring as Rick Grimes on AMC's The Walking Dead for close to a decade, Andrew Lincoln departed the series in a storyline which found the character sacrificing his life to save his community and friends from a massive horde of walkers; but, Grimes wasn't actually dead and it was revealed that he had been rescued by a mysterious group and taken off to parts unknown in a helicopter. It was then announced that Rick Grimes would return in a trilogy of movies set in the world of The Walking Dead.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, production on The Walking Dead movie obviously hasn't had the opportunity to kick off, but while speaking in a virtual panel at Skybound Xpo, creator Robert Kirkman teased that the delay will only make the movie better.
There's tons of stuff going on behind the scenes. I don't want anyone to think that we're just kind of waiting around for this pandemic to end. I would say that, if anything, the pandemic is going to make a lot of movies better. I think the Rick Grimes movie chief among them, just because we're getting a lot more time to cook this thing and make sure it's perfect. But when things do quiet down, you guys are going to hear a ton more about this movie.
Schedules are typically pretty damn tight with these projects, so getting to spend more time perfecting the script is definitely a good thing. "We're coming along in a big way. We're just in this particular space where we have [to wait]," added executive producer David Alpert. "We can't shoot right now, so that's just the big thing holding us back. We are desperate to get back into production, and get everything going, but we have something really exciting, really unique, really different, and can't wait to get it going. We just have to wait for it to be safe." Although I've largely given up on the TV series, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm at least a little curious to see how they pull off this big-screen version of The Walking Dead.
Speaking of The Walking Dead TV series, the tenth season wrapped up prematurely earlier this year as AMC announced that they would be unable to complete post-production on the season finale in time. However, the "jaw-dropping" episode is still expected to debut later this year, and I'd imagine we'll hear a little more during its panel at Comic-Con this Friday.