Things continue to be quite dire for the movie theater industry. Last week, AMC Theatres shut down all of its U.S. and Canadian locations due to the coronavirus outbreak. Now there’s word the company has furloughed more than 600 corporate employees, including its CEO. The good news: all furloughed corporate employees will retain active employment status, which includes health benefits. The bad news: employees have reduced working hours and reduced pay – or in some cases no hours and no pay.
Deadline was first to report that AMC Theatres has furloughed 600-plus corporate employees, including CEO Adam Aron. Last week, AMC shut down 634 locations in the U.S. and Canada, as well as over 1,000 venues worldwide. As a result, over 26,000 theater employees have either been furloughed or laid off. AMC has no source of revenue at the moment. In short, things are bad.
Regarding the news, the company released the following statement: “As we all know, these are unprecedented times…AMC is doing everything possible to ensure that we can welcome back both our associates and our guests as our theatres reopen.”. While the company also adds that they don’t plan to fire their corporate employees. The furlough is necessary to “preserve cash. And ensure the circuits globally can reopen when the world has recovered from the coronavirus crisis.”
When the theaters were closed last week, CEO Adam Aaron said:
“We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres. Still, the health and wellbeing of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely and look forward to the day we can again delight moviegoers nationwide by reopening AMC movie theatres in accordance with guidance from the CDC and local health authorities.”
There’s a serious concern right now that many theaters – AMC included – will never be able to recover from this. No one was prepared for such a massive shutdown, and the money simply isn’t there. Theater owners have even reached out to Congress to ask for a bailout. It doesn’t help that there’s no official end in sight at the moment. AMC originally estimated the closures would last 6 to 12 months – but that could also change, given the situation.
Meanwhile, in better news, a GoFundMe campaign set up to raise money for New York City movie theater workers who have been laid off/furloughed has surpassed its goal. The Cinema Workers Solidarity Fund set out to raise $74,000. And has so far pulled in $75,322 in donations. And it’s still climbing. So there’s a bit of a bright side for you.