Theater chain AMC may run out of cash by year’s end, as studios delay releasing films

By Kevin Hardy

The Kansas City Star

AMC Theatres said it may run out of cash by the end of the year as both supply and demand for moviegoing remains limited during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Leawood, Kan.-based chain warned investors in an SEC filing Tuesday morning that its existing cash would be “largely depleted” by the end of 2020 or early 2021. The company said it continues to suffer from delayed studio releases: several films scheduled for theater releases in the last quarter of this year have been delayed to next year or moved to streaming services.

AMC, the nation’s largest movie theater chain, has resumed operations at a majority of its nearly 600 U.S. theaters. Rival Cineworld Group, parent company of Regal Cinemas, announced last week it would close all 536 of its U.S. theaters, just days after the theater debut of the newest James Bond film was delayed yet again.

AMC theaters that remain closed are primarily in California, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Washington State, and include some of the company’s most profitable locations.

The chain has already taken several drastic measures to cut costs, including furloughing every corporate employee, eliminating non-healthcare benefits like 401(k) matching and sought to defer or renegotiate movie theater rents with landlords.

In August, the company reported a second quarter loss in excess of $500 million. That followed first quarter losses of nearly $2.2 billion after the chain went months with virtually no revenue.

As it reopened theaters, the company limited theater capacity, blocked off seats and upgraded air filtration and sanitation methods. Executives said they have sought guidance from public health experts at Harvard University and partnered with The Clorox Company to help create a safe environment for guests and employees.