AMC Theatres hopes to bring consumers back to the movies amid the COVID-19 pandemic by giving tickets away almost for free — at least for a day.
The theater chain has announced it will begin reopening its U.S. locations, which closed nationwide in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, on Aug. 20. And on that first day back open, it will sell tickets for just 15 cents. The company framed this as its way of celebrating the 100-year anniversary of its founding by offering 1920 prices, although it's clearly also an effort to entice moviegoers to return to theaters that have been shuttered for months. Following this 15 cent promotion, AMC will sell tickets to classic movies like Back to the Future and Ghostbusters for $5.
Of course, AMC will only be reopening its theaters in areas of the country where it's permitted to do so, excluding numerous major cities. The company had pushed back its reopening date multiple times, but its plan now is to have more than 100 locations reopened on Aug. 20 and then another 300 or so reopened in the following two weeks. AMC previously announced safety policies it's putting in place to reopen, including enhanced cleaning measures and requiring customers to wear masks.
It remains unclear whether consumers will feel safe returning to the movies in the areas where they can do so, though, as well as if they'll even be interested during these first days of operation when major new blockbusters won't yet be playing. The New Mutants is scheduled to open on Aug. 28, while Tenet is to be released in select cities on Sept. 3, by which point AMC says it will have two-thirds of its locations opened. But on the same weekend that Tenet opens, Disney will be enticing consumers to stay home as Mulan, which was originally intended for a splashy theatrical release, hits streaming instead. Brendan Morrow