If anyone is really that surprised that theaters aren’t doing that well then they haven’t been paying attention, but AMC theaters have certainly been trying to keep up appearances throughout the last few months in an attempt to make it appear that they might be able to surge back and create enough revenue that could keep them in the black and not keep slipping into the red. The fact that the pandemic is still ongoing is making it difficult for anyone to pack themselves into a theater setting at this time since getting that close to others is considered an uncertain death sentence at this time, at least to some folks. Without getting into the whole doomsayer’s litany of calling theaters a place for ‘super-spreaders’ and the like, the reality is that AMC appears to be doing everything they can in order to stay open, but the sad truth is that until the pandemic is well and done, it’s not likely that any place that people gather in big numbers is going to be deemed as completely safe. For theaters, this means that business could remain abysmally slow for months to come, which means that spending the type of money that AMC has will eventually force them to close their doors and pray for a miracle to come along. Hey, it’s happened before, kind of.
The idea of blaming the slow business on the fact that big movies haven’t been coming out this year would be valid save for one thing: other theater chains have been in damage control mode since the pandemic hit, and as a result, they’re not doing quite as badly as AMC but they’re still hurting for lost revenue since nearly every theater in the country has been struggling to get by and simply attempt to find a way to get through the coming months without having to close their doors for good. From the outset, it would appear that AMC has been banking on the idea that things would turn around sooner rather than later. But as the months have continued to roll by it’s been made pretty clear that theaters still aren’t going to be operating at capacity since the thought of sitting within six feet of someone that’s not your family or significant other or friend has become a serious health issue, and in some cases, it’s been seen that some businesses won’t allow big families to sit together in a business since it’s perceived as the same risk. Unfortunately, that belief is pretty sound, but at the same time, it’s the idea of spreading fear that’s hard to get behind since, despite the reality of COVID-19 and how our attitudes have had to change about it, the reality is that people are still willing to take things to an extreme in either direction when it comes to public safety.
People argue about wearing masks, they argue about not wearing them, they get on each other about risky behaviors, and they get on each other about living in fear, and so on and so forth. 2020 has been blamed for a lot of our woes, but in truth, the reaction of people to the pandemic and everything else that’s been going on throughout the year thus far has been a chain reaction that has been building and building since the pandemic hit. Sadly the mess isn’t bound to end anytime soon, since people are still bound to do and say what they want, and when it comes to theaters, those that can make their way to the movies will do so, but they’ll likely watching older movies and the few big movies that will be making their way to the big screen. There aren’t many that are doing this obviously since Tenet was supposed to be a big deal on the big screen and its box office numbers are about what people might expect, horrible. It has nothing to do with the movie, but instead the number of people that weren’t allowed to pack the theaters to watch it. There’s not much that can be done when there’s a public health crisis that can’t be worked around, especially when it comes to dealing with confined spaces where there’s little chance of proper ventilation or social distancing.
Right now AMC feels like the naysayer that continues to hold out until the bitter end when their gamble appears to be in danger of not paying off, as many other theaters have shut down or slowed their business to a crawl, no doubt hoping that things will get better. But unfortunately for AMC this has cost them and is likely to cost them even more if they continue to hold out that hope. It’d be great if people could go rushing back to the theaters, but right now it’s just not going to happen.