Recently, the CEO of AMC Theatres, Adam Aron, talked to investors and talked about how the company was going to “survive” the COVID-19 pandemic. That may sound like a bit of an early celebration, as the pandemic is still going strong, but given the company’s status just a couple of months ago (seemingly on the brink of bankruptcy), you can understand why the CEO was happy. And with AMC opening its doors in a little over a week at more than 100 locations in the US, the company is hoping to celebrate a milestone with its customers.
According to AMC (via AP), the company is celebrating its 100-year birthday with “1920s prices” that equate to consumers only paying $0.15 per ticket to see a number of features including “Ghostbusters,” “Black Panther,” “Back to the Future” and “Grease.” This news comes on the heels of the AMC CEO saying that the additional costs for safety protections are going to be passed to the consumer. But before he seemingly jacks up the prices for tickets and concessions, AMC wants you back in the habit of going to the cinema (and hopefully not leaving with a deadly illness).
Though he got the year wrong (it was the 1918 flu), we have to hand it to this Twitter user for providing the joke so we don’t have to:
Now that’s out of the way, this is obviously a not-so-subtle effort to get people to return to AMC en masse when the doors reopen. We know people are rightfully apprehensive about coming back to the movie theaters during a pandemic, especially when cases are still spiking in the US. However, AMC thinks people will look past any perceived safety concerns (real or otherwise) to watch a movie for (basically) free. And obviously, if they go watch some non- “Tenet” movie for $.15 and don’t get sick, then the assumption is they’ll feel safe enough to pay the big bucks to watch Christopher Nolan’s latest. That’s the assumption, at least.
AMC is clearly showing that the chain is just as uncertain about the future as the rest of the world is in regards to the future of the theatrical experience. Is it destined to pick up where it was before the pandemic? Or are we looking at a future where cinemas are a more niche luxury that only appeals to the diehards? That’s the big question.
So, will you line up for a $0.15 movie ticket? Or is this just a cheaper way to watch a movie and potentially get a deadly virus?