AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron sat down for an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Alley today, telling the show’s hosts that the chain’s possible re-opening between May to mid-June is still “more of the right timing, but nobody knows.”
Aron shut down the biggest exhibition chain out of coronavirus safety on March 17, and believes a three-month window will hopefully be enough, as opposed to China which only shuttered their theaters for two months, a time length the exhibition boss says was “too tight.”
“The summer has always been one of the biggest movie seasons of the year, the summer and Christmas,” he said Tuesday’s Squawk Alley “I would love to think that America will be enjoying summer movie season again.”
While many major studios have rescheduled their big summer event pics, with Sony yesterday’s moving a bulk to 2021, currently, Paramount’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend as the season’s first big pic.
“I’ve been reading for years about a perception that there was going to be a switch towards home entertainment,” Aron said. “I think if we learned anything in the last two weeks is people just so want to get out of their houses. I think we’re all feeling cooped up and want to get out and have life return to normal, but that’s not going to happen in the next few days, the next few weeks.”
“We need to get on the other side of this virus as a country,” said Aron, “the country is going to come back, how quickly, nobody knows.”
As a former business leader in the travel industry, Aron projected today that entertainment is poised to have a bigger bounce back than travel.
“There will be a rise in a sense of community in the United States,” said Aron, “In times of crisis, this country has always rallied around itself.”
In regards to safety conditions implemented when AMC returns, the exhibition CEO said that updated cleaning standards will be put into place, while mentioning that the chain already was enforcing auditorium capacity limits. China, in its attempted re-opening of its exhibition infrastructure, was already enforcing a staggered seating policy. It wouldn’t be a surprise if U.S. movie theaters emulate those guidelines initially.
“I’m focused on getting AMC to the other side of this crisis,” said Aron.
AMC shares at the time of posting were trading at $3.11, +1.8%.