As Los Angeles waits for approval to move forward on reopening businesses, AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron said his company plans to reopen theaters on March 19.
“It’ll take a few days to assemble staff, but all protocols are set and we will open Los Angeles theaters one week from tomorrow, no matter what,” Aron told Fox Business’ Liz Claman on Thursday.
Aron’s comments came hours before county health officials announced that L.A. will move into the second tier of California’s reopening system, allowing movie theaters to reopen at a capacity limit of 25%. Reaching the second tier requires counties to lower the number of daily COVID-19 cases to seven per 100,000 people, but that was raised to 10 per 100,000 people after California reached its goal of vaccinating 2 million people in lower-income communities.
In order to raise the theater capacity to 50%, the county will need to reach the third tier of reopening, which, among other criteria, requires daily cases to fall below four per 100,000 people. Theaters and studios alike are hoping for as many theaters to reach that capacity limit by the summer, as it would allow faster recovery for the box office.
AMC was able to reopen its theaters in New York City on March 5, but other, smaller theaters in the city have yet to reopen. Likewise, theaters in Los Angeles that are not part of major nationwide chains may take until early April to open back up.
On the weekend of March 5, only 6% of Los Angeles’ theaters were open. Reopening the city’s cinemas has long been seen as a major key to resuming the normal release of Hollywood blockbusters. Studios are gaining confidence that most theaters nationwide will be open in time for the summer blockbuster season, which includes films like “Black Widow,” “F9” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”