KANSAS CITY, Mo. — AMC Theatres will reopen around 450 of its U.S. theaters in mid-July as part of a phased reopening following what its CEO called a “painful” hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Leawood-based chain’s first theaters will reopen on July 15, followed by its remaining 150 U.S. locations in time for the release of “Mulan” on July 24 and “Tenet” on July 31, according to a news release.
AMC Theatres, already struggling before the pandemic, reported a nearly $2.2 billion loss for the first quarter of the year after it shuttered theaters worldwide.
“After a painful almost four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, we are delighted to announce that movies are coming back to the big screen at AMC,” AMC President and CEO Adam Aron said in the news release. “…I cannot emphasize enough how much care and attention to detail we have taken in developing AMC Safe and Clean, our absolute commitment to optimizing the health and safety of our theaters for our guests and associates.”
Theaters will reopen with reduced seating capacity to encourage social distancing, along with increased cleaning, contactless ticketing and mobile food and beverage ordering.
AMC said it expects different versions of seating limits in theaters to be in place until Thanksgiving, though it also acknowledged that those plans could change depending on local and regional health conditions.
All theater employees will be required to wear masks. Initially, the company said masks would only be a requirement for guests in jurisdictions that require people to wear them in public.
After facing scrutiny for the decision, which Aron told Variety was made because the company did "not want to be drawn into a political controversy," AMC reversed course on Friday and said masks would be a requirement for guests in all of its theaters.
"At AMC Theatres, we think it is absolutely crucial that we listen to our guests," a news release on Friday said. "Accordingly, and with the full support of our scientific advisors, we are reversing course and are changing our guest mask policy."
Masks will be sold for $1 at all locations for those who do not have one or forget to bring one. Those who are not willing to wear masks will not be admitted or allowed to stay, AMC said Friday.