AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron advised CNBC on Thursday that the corporate has been happy with the reopening of its film theaters following coronavirus-induced closures, citing constructive reactions from attendees.
“Our theater cleanliness scores are one of the best they have been in many years, an all-time excessive,” Aron mentioned on “Squawk Box.” “I feel you may eat off the ground,” he quipped.
Greater than 1 million individuals within the U.S. have attended films at AMC theaters since they reopened in late August, the Kansas-based company said Wednesday. The corporate began with roughly its first 100 locations on Aug. 20. Aron mentioned the corporate, which had 636 theaters within the U.S., as of Dec. 31, can have about 75% of its places open this weekend.
Aron mentioned AMC labored with Clorox and Harvard College’s College of Public Well being on its security protocols for reopening. There are insurance policies in place corresponding to masks necessities — apart from when consuming and consuming in the course of the film — and blocking out seats to permit for added area between friends, he mentioned. AMC has disinfectant wipes and different merchandise that it makes use of to scrub, as properly.
“However way more necessary than that, we have invested actually tens of millions and tens of millions in high-tech options. We have upgraded our air filters to MERV 13. It is about 4 occasions the filtration that we had previous to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he mentioned. “We have purchased electrostatic sprayers for all of our theaters in order that we’re spraying down out auditoriums with these electronically charged cleansing options, so we’re throughout each powerful and airborne transmission of the virus.”
In most locations the place theaters are allowed to reopen, there are capability restrictions in place that are supposed to enable for social distancing. Aron mentioned these caps are much less of a difficulty for AMC’s enterprise than maybe an outsider might imagine.
“We’re not an airline or a Broadway theater that historically runs full. Within the movie show enterprise, we’re extra of a church constructed for Easter Sunday,” he mentioned, noting that the 350 million tickets it offered final yr represented simply 17% of its general seats. “The difficulty for us might be convincing moviegoers that our theaters are secure and that our theaters are clear.”
“To date, we’re off to a terrific begin,” he added.
Shares of AMC are down about 13.5% up to now in 2020, underneath a $700 million inventory market worth, because the pandemic triggered important disruption to the leisure business. All of its U.S. theaters have been closed during the second quarter, and in June, it warned it had “substantial doubt” it might survive the coronavirus-related shutdown.
The inventory hit a 52-week low of $1.95 on April 13. As of Wednesday’s shut of $6.26 per share, it had rallied greater than 200%. Even so, AMC shares traded about $12 apiece round this time final yr.
There had been questions on how the movie show enterprise would bounce again from the coronavirus pandemic after individuals have been compelled to look at movies at residence or at alternatives like drive-in theaters. However Aron expressed confidence about AMC going ahead. “We’re very inspired — not about what is going on to occur within the subsequent two weeks —however as you look forward to 2021, we see restoration,” he mentioned.