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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Life + Arts

AMC reopens nearly 600 movie theaters, students weigh in


Moviegoing makes a grand return as AMC reopens nearly 600 of its U.S. locations. The nationwide reopening is due to COVID-19 vaccinations and upcoming movie releases. | Santiago Gaughan/The Cougar

Moviegoing is making a return as the nation’s largest movie theater, American Multi-Cinema, opened most of its 600 locations across the United States.

Since the reopening, the retailer reported nearly seven million moviegoers attended their locations during the first quarter.

The boost comes after AMC experienced a rough financial period in 2020 due to COVID-19. 

Compared to their first-quarter results, last year’s revenue fell 77 percent, and the company reported a $4.59 billion loss. 

Despite the tumultuous financial situation in 2020, the movie chain Chief Executive Adam Aron predicts favorable upcoming months for the company, accrediting this to COVID-19 vaccination rates and upcoming movie releases.

Although AMC is not opening to full capacity in order to follow health regulations, political science sophomore Nkem Nnam believes the reopening is still too soon.

“The pandemic brought a lot of trauma, and people do not see things as they used to,” said Nnam. “I understand the need to reopen, but seeing how the majority of the movies are on streaming platforms, is there really a need for movie theaters? However, I will say I miss the whole experience.”

An active moviegoer herself pre-pandemic, Nnam plans on not returning to the movies yet due to the new outlook the pandemic provided her.

“It is unfortunate how COVID altered our world,” Nnam said. “I do not enjoy doing the things I used to do, and I see things completely differently. The whole rush to normalcy is throwing me off because I spent a whole year isolated from people to protect myself and others.”

“I wished the rush to make things as they were before was a lot more gradual because I am having a hard time adjusting,” Nnam continues.

Nnam said she is so used to following protocol for the pandemic at this point that the idea of being closer than six feet to other people is scary.

However, despite her hesitancy, Nnam believes the nostalgic experience of going to the movies will draw customers in, but AMC will still experience some challenges on its road to normalcy.

“People will go for the whole experience, that is the main reason why I went, but I think it will take some time to get the crowds to how they were pre-COVID,” Nnam said.  “Additionally, streaming platforms make everything more accessible to people, so I am not sure if many people will return.”

As Nnam believes streaming services will put AMC’s survival at risk, psychology junior Krishna Thupili describes them as nonthreatening to the retailer.

“I do think people will return to the movies,” Thupili said. “I’m sure a lot of people miss going to the theaters and watching movies in that way instead of at home. I don’t think streaming has made movies unnecessary. Streaming has been around for a while, including before the pandemic, and it didn’t stop moviegoers then.”

Planning to return to the movies herself, Thupili views the AMC reopening as a good move, but still is slightly wary.

“I think as more people get vaccinated, and we continue to wear masks and social distance, opening the theaters is not a bad idea,” Thupili said.  “I don’t think it’s the best idea, but I don’t think it’s super bad.”

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