Major Cinema Chain Warns It Could Run Out of Cash by End of Year

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JULY 10, 2018 - Entrance to AMC River East 21 Theaters, sittuated on 322 East Illinois Street during evening hours with people walking.
Moab Republic /

The coming attractions for AMC are not looking good. The mega cinema chain said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Tuesday that it could run out of cash by as soon as the end of the year, noting low attendance, cash burn and a reduced movie slate for the fourth quarter of the year — typically a booming time for movie theaters with holiday releases — as depleting factors.

AMC said it has been able to open the majority of its U.S. theaters — 494 of its 598 — but at a drastically reduced capacity limited to 20% to 40%. The remaining 104 AMC theaters, all in California, Maryland, New York, North Carolina and Washington, are traditionally big moneymakers for the company; last year, locations in these areas earned the company one-fourth of its total revenue. Though California has relaxed COVID-19 restrictions on movie theaters, just 139 of the state’s more than 500 cinemas are open, and New York, which is bracing for a second wave of the coronavirus, has reopened only two of its 300 movie theaters.

After the grim warning on Tuesday, shares of AMC promptly slid by 7.8% in early trading that day, continuing along the downward spiral it has been on since the pandemic struck. The stock has dived 43.7% year to date through Monday.

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Nicole Spector is a writer, editor, and author based in Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Vogue, the Atlantic, Vice, and The New Yorker. She's a frequent contributor to NBC News and Publishers Weekly. Her 2013 debut novel, "Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray" received laudatory blurbs from the likes of Fred Armisen and Ken Kalfus, and was published in the US, UK, France, and Russia — though nobody knows whatever happened with the Russian edition! She has an affinity for Twitter.
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