AMC Theaters has detailed its plans to reopen movie theaters throughout the US, in addition to a new deadline for its MoviePass-style A-List subscription, in an email sent to customers on Wednesday.
Starting August 20th, AMC plans to have more than 100 theaters open, and it says it will continue opening locations “such that about two-thirds of our theatres across the country should be open no later than September 3.” AMC has repeatedly delayed its reopening as spread of the coronavirus has caused massive spikes in positive cases in parts of the US that have started to ease restrictions.
The company, the largest theater chain in the country, operates around 600 theaters in the US. But AMC has faced significant challenges to its business throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to forced closures and a near-standstill in Hollywood releases, causing AMC to furlough large swaths of its corporate workforce as it edged close to bankruptcy.
“The remaining AMC locations will open after we get further clearance from state and local authorities that it is safe to do so,” the company writes in an email sent to AMC A-List members. As part of its new safety measures, AMC says all staff and customers must wear masks, following a controversial remark from AMC CEO Adam Aron in June in which he suggested mask-wearing among customers would be encouraged but not mandatory.
The email says customers “can expect continuous extra cleaning and disinfecting of high traffic areas,” that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes would be widely available, and that AMC will “significantly limit seating capacity in our auditoriums.” The company claims it will use “high-tech HEPA vacuums” and “upgraded MERV 13 air filters wherever possible .”
Among the movies AMC plans to screen as part of its reopening include Disney’s The New Mutants starting August 28th and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet starting September 3rd. “As for library titles, we will be showing all of these beloved movies on the big screens of AMC: Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, Black Panther, Bloodshot, Ghostbusters, Goonies, Grease, I Still Believe, Jumanji: The Next Level, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back,” the email explains.
Following announcement of its reopening plans, AMC also said it would be selling 15-cent tickets on opening day on August 20th to celebrate its 100th anniversary, although it appears that historically low rate will only apply to the above mentioned classics and already-released films, which will cost $5 a ticket after opening day.
As for A-List, AMC’s subscription service that lets customers see up to three movies per week, the company says current subscribers who have had plans put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic now have until December 1st, 2020 to reactivate or cancel the membership. Starting on that day, AMC says it will begin charging customers again.
“Now, we have created the ability for you to control when your A-List membership is reactivated. You can choose to resume your A-List membership any time between now and December 1, 2020. We will send you an email when your favorite theatre is open and then, and only when you feel ready to return to our theatres, simply visit your account on our mobile app or website to reactivate your membership. Then, you will be able to start making A-List movie reservations immediately,” the email reads.
AMC says its customers can cancel at any time, and that it plans to communicate any changes to the subscription, including its plan to begin charging again, “well in advance.” The company says it is making a number of other changes to its A-List subscription designed to give the company more control over pricing changes.
For one, AMC says it is reducing the window in which it can make “program changes,” in other words price increases, from 90 days to 30 days starting December 1st. It’s also removing the ability to earn rewards points on the monthly subscription fee for A-List on that date, too. But AMC is guaranteeing that it will not raise the price of A-List, which costs anywhere from $19.95 to $23.95 a month depending on the market, until spring of next year.
Update 8/13, 9:55AM ET: Added AMC’s plans to sell 15-cent tickets on opening day.