AMC Theatres was already hurting before WarnerMedia made its announcement that it was sending WB’s entire 2021 film slate to HBO Max on the same day as theaters. And now, after that decision? Let’s just say AMC is none too pleased with the idea that one of the biggest studios in the world is threatening the future of the theatrical experience.
In what seems to be a common occurrence in 2020, the world’s largest theater chain has made another financial disclosure to the SEC explaining the grim outlook for the future (via Deadline). Much like previous disclosures, AMC Theatres assured everyone that the company is on the verge of collapse if there isn’t a large influx of customers in the doors in 2021 combined with a large influx of cash in the bank. Basically, for AMC to “remain viable,” the company needs about $750 million in cash and the promise from studios that they’re going to release films exclusively in theaters. Uh oh.
“A significant spike in coronavirus cases, together with delays of major movie releases or the direct or simultaneous release of movie titles to the home video or streaming markets in lieu of theatre exhibition, have led to theatre closures, prevented the opening of theatres in major markets and have had, and are expected to continue to have in the future, a material adverse impact on theatre attendance levels and our business,” said AMC in its SEC filing. “These challenges have been exacerbated by the announcement by Warner Bros. that its entire studio film slate for 2021 will move to simultaneous release, which may result in other studios adopting a similar strategy.”
The filing added, “We cannot predict what supply of movie titles will be available for theatrical exhibition once moviegoers are prepared to return in large numbers. Nor can we know with certainty the impact of the Warner Bros. announcement or any similar announcements regarding the release of movie titles concurrently to the home video or streaming markets, as those arrangements will be subject to negotiations that have not yet taken place.”
Again, we’ve heard AMC talk about how bad the company is doing financially all year. But this does have a bit more of a grim sound to it than previous filings. It doesn’t appear that AMC is very optimistic about the future anymore, especially given the WB/HBO Max strategy. Brace yourselves for a rough 2021, film fans.