US movie chain AMC warns it is running out of money

An empty AMC movie theatreImage copyright

The world’s biggest movie chain has warned it could run out of money by the end of the year, citing a plunge in film-going and delayed movie releases amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite reopening the majority of its theatres, AMC Entertainment Holdings said attendance remained down 85% in the US and 74% elsewhere.

AMC says it is looking to raise money.

The warning follows rival Cineworld’s recent decision to temporarily close its cinemas in the US and UK.

AMC, which has previously said it is spending about $100m a month, told investors that it expected its cash to “be largely depleted by the end of 2020 or early 2021”.

The amount of money needed is “material”, the firm added.

“There is a significant risk that these potential sources of liquidity will not be realised or that they will be insufficient to generate the material amounts of additional liquidity that would be required until the company is able to achieve more normalised levels of operating revenues,” the firm warned in a filing with US financial regulators.

‘We could lose movie-going forever’

AMC, which is controlled by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, operated more than 1,000 cinemas globally prior to the pandemic.

While most are in the US, it also has more than 300 international locations via its Odeon and UCI Cinema subsidiaries.

In the US, restrictions due to the virus have kept theatre capacity limited to 20%-40%. And in some key markets, such as California and New York, the firm’s cinemas have not yet reopened.

The industry has also been rocked by decisions to postpone releases of big-budget films such as Wonder Woman 1984 and James Bond movie No Time To Die, which is now due for release in April 2021.

In a recent interview, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins warned that movie-going was facing a real threat of extinction.

“If we shut this down, this will not be a reversible process,” she said. “We could lose movie theatre-going forever.”

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