Movie lovers have just been dealt a series blow as AMC Theatres has been forced to close its doors in the U.S. As reported by Deadline, the nation’s largest theater chain will be closing for between six and 12 weeks amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
“We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres,” AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said. “Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.”
Other chains such as Regal Cinemas and the Alamo Drafthouse followed suit. This comes after the government suggested people across the country avoid gatherings of ten people or more. The box office had already suffered a major blow as the virus has continued to spread. With the limit on public gatherings, theater owners were left with little choice in the matter.
The closures in the U.S. and overseas are having major effects on the film industry. Major movies have been delayed for months, with Marvel’s Black Widow recently exiting its May 1 release date, even after the final trailer made its way online recently. It’s not known at this time when the latest MCU flick will be released.
Members of AMC’s Stubbs A-List program will have their accounts put on pause during the shutdown, meaning they won’t be charged for the time they aren’t using it.
“Members will be notified prior to this pause expiring and will have the option to choose to extend the pause for another month if they so desire. Additionally, any A-List member who did not renew their membership any time so far in calendar year 2020 will not have to wait the customary 6 months to rejoin,” the statement reads.
AMC operates 634 theaters across the U.S. and Canada. This is an unprecedented move and, given the nature of the COVID-19 situation, it’s difficult to predict when things could return to normal, or what normal will look like when the time comes.
On the superhero movie front, other big releases could be affected before things settle down. Sony’s Spider-Man spin-off Morbius is currently set to hit theaters on July 31. Depending on how long the delay lasts, the studio could opt to push the release back. Warner Bros. also has Wonder Woman 1984 on deck for June 5. Again, this could become a wait and see thing, but a delay would not be out of the question at this point.