As we approach the two and a half months of quarantine from the coronavirus pandemic, we’re waiting to see whether Christopher Nolan’s Tenet can shoulder a burden no other film has had to carry in the modern era: can this one film save movie theaters from oblivion? The action thriller is currently slated to open in July, and while AMC has promised to open its doors in time, one of its biggest theatrical competitors, Regal Cinemas, has not yet made that same commitment.
When is Regal Cinemas Reopening?
The short answer: we don’t know yet. Last night, Regal tweeted the following message:
At this time, we have not made a decision when to reopen. We continue to work with authorities and studios in order to host our audiences and show them the big blockbusters in a safe environment. As soon as we have an opening date, we will share. pic.twitter.com/vtqUALuA5I
— Regal (@RegalMovies) May 26, 2020
Does this tweet mean that Regal theaters definitely won’t be open when Tenet and Mulan debut? Of course not. This is a fluid situation, and things could change by the minute. But it does seem to indicate that Regal might be taking things slightly more seriously than its rivals. Each person is going to have their own personal timetable for when they feel comfortable visiting movie theaters again, but just because state or local governments decree that businesses can reopen doesn’t automatically mean that’s going to happen. Regal might be interested in using AMC as a guinea pig for reopening, but I have to imagine in these tough times that they’re not going to stand by and watch AMC rake in all the customers for long before they open up their own doors and try to take their piece of the pie.
Will AMC Be Able to Stay Afloat in the Face of COVID-19?
And speaking of AMC, the internet has been awash in articles over the past two months speculating about the theater chain’s potential demise – or at least a possible plunge into bankruptcy. Even before the pandemic caused mass shutdowns across the world, AMC had well-documented money troubles and a significant amount of debt. But Deadline points out that one analyst has upgraded AMC’s stock from “sell” to “neutral” in the wake of its stock value doubling since taking a huge drop in the early days of the pandemic.
“Near-term bankruptcy risk appears to have subsided,” the analyst says, in large part due to the idea that AMC is on track to reopen in July/August. In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, AMC said it had $300 million in cash on its balance sheet as of March 31. The company also raised $500 million through a private debt offering, which should allow it to stay afloat through the end of this year. As we trek through the next few months, we should have a better idea of how the pandemic will affect theaters in the long term, so stay tuned as we document it along the way.
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