File this one under collaborations we didn’t see coming: AMC is working with Zoom to turn some of its movie theaters into massive videoconferencing spaces for 75 to 150 people for when you really need your meeting to leave an impact. AMC will even provide “food and beverage offerings, possible movie viewings, and concierge-style personalized handling of meeting needs,” though for an additional cost, of course.
The theater chain says that when companies are planning a gathering, they can book theaters across the country online, so their employees can have a similar experience on the call. When you book the service, you’ll get a three-hour block at whatever theaters you select, with AMC and Zoom providing “the necessary equipment for a fully functional Zoom Rooms experience.” (Zoom Rooms is the video calling company’s term for its conference room system.)
The service won’t be available at every single AMC theater; the company says it’s only planning on launching it in “up to 17 major U.S. markets” next year.
The press release pitches the move as a way to connect remote workers, providing a “centrally located venue” in cities that aren’t necessarily located near your company’s HQ. From a business perspective, the partnership makes sense, as it lets AMC make money off of theaters that may have sat empty during the day. And AMC’s definitely looking for ways to make money; while its Q2 earnings report revealed that it’s doing significantly better than it was in 2020 or 2021, it’s still expected to announce losses during its Q3 earnings call on Tuesday.
But as someone who’s attended a lot of Zoom meetings, I feel like the theater experience may be a bit overwhelming. It’s hard to imagine any of them being improved by the “state-of-the-art sight and sound technology” AMC brags about having. (Though I’m also struggling to think of anything that wouldn’t be improved by a bucket of popcorn.)
AMC also says that Zoom Rooms at AMC could be used for “in-person events,” and references businesses using it to present things to customers as well. That feels like a more fun use of the tech; I can definitely imagine people making a trip to their local theater to watch a Comic-Con panel or an announcement livestream from their favorite gadget maker.