CINEMA CHAIN AMC WARNS IT MAY NOT SURVIVE THE PANDEMIC

'Substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern,' company says in filing

Movie theatre chain AMC is warning that it may not survive the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered its cinemas and led film studios to explore releasing more movies directly to viewers over the internet. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Movie theatre chain AMC warned Wednesday that it may not survive the coronavirus pandemic, which has shuttered its cinemas and led film studios to explore releasing more movies directly to viewers over the internet.

All of AMC’s theatres are shut down through June, which means the company isn’t generating any revenue. AMC said it had enough cash to reopen its theatres this summer, as it plans to do. But if it’s not allowed to reopen, it will need more money, which it may not be able to borrow.

The company said that even when local governments allow theatres to reopen, AMC may still have problems if entertainment companies delay releasing new films.

“Due to these factors, substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” AMC wrote in a regulatory filing.

And people may not want to go sit in crowded spaces because they fear the virus. AMC believes that desire for social distancing is temporary and that people will want to go to the movies again.

Apart from the pandemic and its economic aftershocks, the movie business in the U.S. and Canada has benefited from rising ticket prices, but admissions have been gradually declining since 2005. Sequels, remakes and superhero movies dominate the box office. Meanwhile, the rise of streaming services — Netflix and a growing stable of rivals — is providing new competition.

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