American Multi-Cinema theaters have been closed for over six months ever since the coronavirus impacted every aspect of our daily lives. During those months, several employees, including myself, have been in the dark of the future of the company and whether we would ever be able to go back. There have been very few emails informing us of the new safety measures we will have to look forward to in the future or any reopening date for local theatres in New York. The most recent announcement from AMC theaters stated a grand reopening in certain states, with the original 1920 price as a celebration for its 100th birthday as low as .15 cents. The announcement was met with a lot of skepticism, as New York is one of the few states that are excluded from the festivities due to Governor Cuomo’s strict measures against COVID 19.
Despite that fact, new measures were announced to ease moviegoers into coming back to theatres that contradicted previous announcements made from AMC CEO Adam Aron. The new protocols require all guests wearing face coverings at all times and those without one could purchase one at the theater. Due to backlash the company faced after that original statement, enforcing covering was the only way to ensure a crowd at the reopening. Ever since AMC and several other theater companies have shut down, the movie industry has changed drastically, with big films such as Mulan and Trolls World Tour being pushed to online streaming with many films being pushed back altogether. Big name films being pushed back and not being able to get a theatrical release, makes moviegoers believe that going back to movie theaters is an unnecessary risk. Prior to COVID-19, films were being sold to full capacity and theatres were constantly making revenue regardless of attendance due to concession sales. With these new rules, the main source of income is in jeopardy of suffering severely during the pandemic, even if attendance reaches its maximum within the allowed seating limits. Regardless of ticket sales, theaters are not going to reach the same sales levels as before until COVID 19 cases decrease significantly, no matter how many guests wear masks. The risk of those who are unwilling to do that increases the chances of AMC closing once more.
This predicament puts the workers at risk of being unemployed for the long term, not to mention the risks they face of encountering guests who are unwilling to abide by the new protocols in place. Being able to ensure the safety of guests as well as staff is an impossible task in this specific setting. It is putting the safety of others in each other’s hands. We are unaware of what the future holds for AMC theatres, and whether or not this reopening will prove to be harmful in the near future. Until then, all that guests can do to ensure the safety of themselves and the people they come in contact with is to wear a mask while trying to return to some sense of normalcy at the theater.