AMC rallies 24% after announcing theatres will reopen August 20 with 15-cent tickets

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty ImagesMovie goers purchase automated tickets at an AMC movie theatre in Arcadia, California on August 2, 2017. AMC Entertainment Holdings, the world’s largest movie theatre owner, announced a ‘shocking’ expectation for second-quarter losses, with stocks diving by 25 per cent August 2nd amid a weak box office. The Leawood, Kansas company is owned by struggling Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
  • AMC spiked as much as 24% higher on Thursday after the company revealed plans to reopen some theatres on August 20.
  • More than 100 locations will open their doors next week, according to a press release.
  • AMC plans to reopen more than 600 locations by the time Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” releases on September 3.
  • To celebrate the theatre chain’s centennial, AMC is lowering some ticket prices to 15 cents – the same price they were in 1920.
  • Watch AMC trade live here.

AMC shares surged as much as 24% on Thursday after the theatre chain announced it would reopen some theatres on August 20.

More than 100 locations are scheduled to reopen next week alongside rivals Cinemark and Regal, the company said in a press release. In celebration of the resumed showings, AMC is lowering some ticket prices to 15 cents – the same as they were when the country’s biggest movie theatre chain was founded in 1920.

Movies set to be shown at the discounted rate include “Back to the Future,” “Grease,” “Black Panther,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Sonic the Hedgehog.” Several movies and concessions will be discounted to $US5 each after August 20.

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AMC hopes to have more than 600 of its US locations open by the time Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” releases on September 3. However, rising case counts could delay reopenings and even reinstate some lockdown measures.

The company initially aimed to reopen in June but delays to big-budget releases and a resurgence in COVID cases halted the plans.

The theatre chain’s shares still sit roughly 23% lower year-to-date after tanking through late February and March on initial virus concerns. AMC warned in June that the pandemic could drag the company into bankruptcy, but a July debt deal ensured it can remain solvent through 2021.

Reopening won’t resolve all of AMC’s problems. The firm still holds billions of dollars in debt, and Americans may still avoid theatres if they believe them to be unsafe.

The theatre industry as a whole will also need to contend with a shift in how movies are being delivered to consumers. Disney elected last week to release its “Mulan” remake on its Disney Plus streaming service instead of in theatres. Should such releases become more mainstream, theatres could face a significant drop-off in traffic.

AMC traded at $US5.48 per share as of 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday.

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