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AMC Raises Nearly $1 Billion To Survive Pandemic


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AMC Theaters has raised nearly $1 billion to stave off a potential shutdown of the world's largest theater chain. Like the rest of the industry, the moviegoing business's exhibition branch has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Theaters remained shut down for the majority of 2020, a year that saw most major studio tentpoles vacate the release calendar for greener pastures in 2021. Streaming became the dominant media platform in 2020 and left many studios worried about what the future of moviegoing looked like.

Warner Bros. bombshell decision to release their entire 2021 slate on HBO Max and in theaters the same day rocked the industry in December and left many wondering what would happen to theaters in the coming year. With the 2021 release calendar currently in shambles, Warner Bros. decision now seems eerily prescient. A new set of delays has upended the first half of the year, with No Time to Die kicking off a slew of delays that leave very few major releases on the calendar for the next few months.

Fortunately, AMC looks like it will be able to pull through now. According to Variety, the chain has raised nearly $1 billion to fund the business through the winter. After a brush with bankruptcy, the chain set a goal to raise $750 million, and they've more than surpassed that. The chain hopes that this will allow a continued dialogue between theaters and their respective landlords to stay in business until theaters can operate as usual sometime later this year.

 

Moviegoers are hesitant to return to theaters, especially in areas where the virus is still surging. Los Angeles and New York markets remain shutdown, and, as the two biggest markets in the US, their inability to operate would put a dent in any film's box office take. Wonder Woman 1984 gave a glimmer of hope to theaters over the holiday when it debuted with the largest box office take for a pandemic era movie. Still, one film does not solve the myriad of problems facing the industry.

For many, the beginning of 2021 has looked worryingly similar to March 2020. Disney delayed seven films, and many other studios followed suit. While the summer calendar remains intact, its position is precarious. If things don't begin looking up, the summer could very well be cleared out, further disrupting an already fragile calendar. Luckily, AMC theaters look to be planning for that genuine possibility. At the same time, studios battle internally about what they should do with their major releases at risk of becoming stale. The industry has proven its ability to adapt in the last year, and it looks like theaters will continue to be tested in the coming months, with AMC uniquely rising to the challenge.

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