With movie theaters in the United States now finally getting ready to reopen, AMC Theaters is pushing a pretty wild promotion to get people back to their theaters. The nation’s largest theater chain announced today that when it reopens on August 20th, all movie tickets will cost just 15 cents for the entire day – or the cost of a movie ticket in 1920. Ironically enough (or unironically?) in 1920, the world was still reeling from the Spanish flu pandemic. Same prices, same dangerous conditions!
AMC Theaters plans to reopen about 100 locations on August 20th, and will be playing catalog films like Black Panther, Back to the Future, and Grease. After the opening-day price discount, these catalog films will continue to play for $5 tickets.
Disney-Fox still intends to release The New Mutants in theaters on August 28th, and Warner Bros. still plans to release Christopher Nolan’s latest epic Tenet on September 4th, with Bill and Ted Face the Music releasing in select theaters and PVOD at the same time on August 28th.
We’ve been through this before so there are no guarantees this holds, but AMC is acting as if it will 100% be opening where possible on August 20th. The theater chain said it expects about two thirds of its theaters will be open in time for Tenet, but states like California and New York still don’t allow movie theaters to reopen at this time.
AMC and most other theater chains are following new safety protocols that include mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing through reduced theater capacity, sanitizing efforts for their seats, and MERV 13 air filters “where possible.” But that kind of goes out the window once you acknowledge that folks are allowed to take their masks off while eating concessions, just as studies are appearing to confirm that COVID-19 can infect in the air. Cool. Cool cool cool.
We’ll see how this all plays out. It’s a terrible position – I can’t wait to go back to a movie theater, but right now it still feels like an intense gamble with my life and the lives of others. In an ideal scenario, the government would bail out enclosed spaces like theaters and concert venues until they can safely reopen. Alas.
For more on the future of movies, read Allie Gemmill’s impassioned editorial.