AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc, originally called American Multi-Cinema is an American movie theater chain based in Leawood, Kansas, established in 1920. Simply referred to as AMC, the company is one of the largest theatre chains in the world. The market capitalization of the firm last year stood above a whopping $1 billion.
AMC Theatres was founded by Maurice, Edward, and Barney Dubinsky. The trio was traveling actors who purchased the Regent Theatre in Kansas City. They eventually changed their surname to Durwood and named their company Durwood theatres. In 1968, Durwood Theatres was renamed as American Royal Cinema. After the incorporation, the theatre took its new name American Multi-Cinema.
Under its new name, the theatre chain opened many more theatres in the United States of America and its first overseas theatre in the UK. The company went on to inaugurate its first North American megaplex, the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas, Texas, in 1995.
AMC Black Ticket
AMC offers two special kinds of tickets black and yellow.
“With the AMC Black ticket you will enjoy best-in-class amenities including spacious rocking seats and luxury recliners, premium presentation formats, and AMC Dine-In options at AMC theatres across the country,” boasts the theatre chain.
These tickets never expire. You can purchase the ticket from AMC’s corporate page. Since the pandemic has forced the theatre to adopt new guidelines, do check their website to see if the ticket can still be purchased. This ticket can be redeemed for admission to one movie at any AMC theatre nationwide. This is only accepted in AMC theatres of the USA.
The black ticket excludes opening night fan events, double features, marathon events, alternative content, certain foreign-language titles, and special theatrical presentations. It is subject to surcharge for 3D, premium large screen format (e.g., IMAX, Dolby, AMC Prime), film festivals, and other premium services. AMC webpage says that there are location service charges at select locations, including Disney and Universal properties operated by AMC.
How the Pandemic Has Impacted AMC?
However, the gigantic theatre company is not faring well in the current pandemic. Covid 19 has created an existential crisis for the world’s theatres. With the virus at large, cinema productions are at a standstill along with all the theatres around the world.
AMC opened its doors to customers in August after it closed shop owing to the pandemic. The theatre chain opened about 113 branches spread across the US and had advertised retro pricing and retro screenings to attract moviegoers back to the big screen.
A few did arrive to watch their favorite movies being screened. AMC screened The Goonies, Jumanji: The Next Level, The Empire Strikes Back, and Back to the Future among others. Some of these movie tickets were sold out.
But, “sold out” during pandemic times is not the same as before. AMC is giving tickets to fill up only 30% of its seating capacity. To allow theatre employees enough time to clean, the company has slashed its number of screenings to two. To upkeep social distancing and prevent crowding in the lobby showtimes are also being staggered.
These bad times have seemingly put AMC Cinemas under a loss. In a recent filing with the U.S. SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission], the theatre group confessed that “substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time.” According to a report, if it doesn’t find new sources of liquidity, the company has admitted that it will have to declare bankruptcy.
If you look closely at AMC’s financials, you would know why the company is pushed to the brink of bankruptcy. The theatre, which usually at least breaks even, lost nearly $2 billion last quarter. It was already $5 billion in debt before this crisis. This was mostly because of the renovation of its theatres for a more luxurious experience for its customers. But, little did they foresee a pandemic striking the world and their establishments shutting down.
Only some of the company’s theatres are open now and even the open ones are not allowed 100% seating capacity. This has caused a major revenue cut for the theatre chain. It has tried its luck to raise liquidity to keep the company afloat.
The report states that AMC has renegotiated almost all of its leases from around the globe. It has stopped shareholder cash returns, its stock buy-back program, and future dividend payments. To further cut down the expenses it has laid off employees, reduced salaries of the staff, and canceled annual merit pay raises. Moreover, AMC has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in private debt tightening the debt noose.
However, this isn’t enough as AMC is still scouring for additional revenue. The theatre group has started to allow people to rent an entire theater for $99. You can invite up to 20 of your friends to join in on a theatre experience for a classic movie like Jurassic Park. It is even more costly to screen a new movie like Tenet, the latest action thriller from director Christopher Nolan. This equates to money that the theatre gets from one screening.
However, we hope things get better soon and you can make use of your AMC black ticket like before.