An empty AMC movie theatreImage copyright
Reuters

The world’s biggest movie chain has warned it could run out of money by the end of the year, citing a plunge in film-going and delayed movie releases amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite reopening the majority of its theatres, AMC Entertainment Holdings said attendance remained down 85% in the US and 74% elsewhere.

AMC says it is looking to raise money.

The warning follows rival Cineworld’s recent decision to temporarily close its cinemas in the US and UK.

AMC, which has previously said it is spending about $100m a month, told investors that it expected its cash to “be largely depleted by the end of 2020 or early 2021”.

The amount of money needed is “material”, the firm added.

“There is a significant risk that these potential sources of liquidity will not be realised or that they will be insufficient to generate the material amounts of additional liquidity that would be required until the company is able to achieve more normalised levels of operating revenues,” the firm warned in a filing with US financial regulators.

‘We could lose movie-going forever’

AMC, which is controlled by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, operated more than 1,000 cinemas globally prior to the pandemic.

While most are in the US, it also has more than 300 international locations via its Odeon and UCI Cinema subsidiaries.

In the US, restrictions due to the virus have kept theatre capacity limited to 20%-40%. And in some key markets, such as California and New York, the firm’s cinemas have not yet reopened.

The industry has also been rocked by decisions to postpone releases of big-budget films such as Wonder Woman 1984 and James Bond movie No Time To Die, which is now due for release in April 2021.

In a recent interview, Wonder Woman director

(Bloomberg) — AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. said it may soon run out of cash amid fresh signs that the pandemic is pushing cinema operators close to default.



a group of people standing in front of a store: Customers wearing protective masks visit the concession stand at an AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. movie theater in Austin, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. AMC will be reopening more than 100 theaters across the country Thursday, about one-sixth of its locations, with plans to open more in the coming weeks.


© Bloomberg
Customers wearing protective masks visit the concession stand at an AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. movie theater in Austin, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. AMC will be reopening more than 100 theaters across the country Thursday, about one-sixth of its locations, with plans to open more in the coming weeks.

The world’s biggest theater chain said in a filing Tuesday that liquidity will be largely depleted by the end of this year or early next year if attendance doesn’t pick up, and it’s exploring actions that include asset sales and joint ventures.

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Attendance since the resumption of business in the U.S. is down 85% from the same period a year ago, the company said. AMC has been hobbled by the coronavirus outbreak, which discourages some moviegoers from coming and studios from releasing blockbusters that might attract them.

AMC is looking for sources of liquidity to ride out the pandemic, including asset sales and joint ventures, but cautions there is “significant risk” that its efforts may fall short or fail. Other actions could include debt and equity financing, continued talks with landlords on rent reductions and arrangements with existing business partners.

Attendance Dilemma

Cinema chains are facing a chicken-and-egg problem with no near-term solution: As local capacity restrictions and audience skittishness keep U.S. theaters largely empty, studios are delaying most of their major film releases into 2021 and beyond, which gives consumers still less reason to buy tickets.

Cineworld Group Plc, owner of the Regal chain, earlier this month suspended operations at its U.S. and U.K. locations because of the lack of big movies. It’s preparing for talks with