AMC Rewinds, Will Now Require Face Masks In Theaters
Per The Hollywood Reporter, AMC Theaters announced Friday it was backpedaling and will now require guests to wear face masks when it reopens in July. What a difference a day makes.
AMC CEO Adam Aron set off a firestorm of controversy on Thursday when he revealed the company’s plan to reopen its U.S. theaters. In the course of doing so, he stated face masks would only be encouraged, because as he said, “We did not want to be drawn into a political controversy. We thought it might be counterproductive if we forced mask wearing on those people who believe strongly that it is not necessary.”
This statement was met with instant and massive derision, prompting the hasty reversal in policy. The policy on masks made no practical sense given the circumstances in the United States regarding the virus, where some states are seeing their highest daily positive test counts, and masks have proven effective in curbing the spread of the disease. The policy was simply misguided.
Regal Cinemas will also require masks for all attendees when it reopens. AMC intends on opening approximately 450 of its U.S. theaters by July 15 and intends all 600 to be open by July 24, in time for the release of Disney’s Mulan and Warner Bros.’ Tenet.
It is unlikely either those movies open if AMC is not fully open, or at capacity. That makes the initial statement on masks all the more myopic. The statement Aron made on masks on Thursday belies the fears and concerns of potential customers, reflected in a recent survey which showed a majority of people would rather stay home to watch new movies.
AMC has little margin for error. The company faces bankruptcy and is reportedly a target for acquisition by Amazon. It has vowed not to show Universal films after the studio decided to make Trolls World Tour available on demand. Given the competition from streaming services and the outlet those platforms provide studios for their content amidst the crisis, that battle may already be over.