A crisp Benjamin Franklin can get you your own private AMC movie theater.
AMC Theatres joins a handful of cinemas letting customers rent out auditoriums for private screenings – a growing trend due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
AMC allows rentals of up to 20 people. According to its website, rates start at $99, excluding tax, and increase to $349 depending on the movie, the theater’s location and any other add-ons like food and drink. AMC’s FAQ page lists renting a microphone to greet guests as an extra $100 charge, while more time to enter an auditorium, beyond the standard 15 minutes, will cost another $250.
It’s part of the theater chain’s effort to remain afloat this year as the Covid-19 pandemic contributes to record industry losses.
AMC’s revenues fell to $941.5 million, down roughly 22% compared with $1.2 billion in the same quarter last year, according to a Security and Exchange Commission filing in June. In another filing, the world’s largest theater chain could run out of money by the end of the year.
The company blames these losses on having shut its theaters to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“In compliance with these restrictions, all of our theatres worldwide have temporarily suspended operations through June,” the company said in the filing. “During this period, we are generating effectively no revenue.”
Hollywood studios are also delaying the release of films, like Wonder Woman 1984, a Warner Bros. film. And the number of viewers using streaming services has increased significantly since stay-at-home orders began last spring. According to a Nielsen report, staying at home can lead to a 60% increase in streaming activity.
Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told CNN earlier this month that theaters will continue to be hit hard if these trends continue.
“We have to prepare for the inevitability that one, or more, of the major chains may not survive if this situation continues to lurch into next summer,” Bock told CNN. “The number of movie theaters that will close on a permanent basis will be directly proportional to how long it takes the US to stomp out the virus.”
It’s clear that AMC is finding creative solutions to its financial problems.
The promotion is available in most states, excluding New York, Alaska and Hawaii.
Frank Pallotta contributed to this report.