Over the last several years, movie theatres’ place in modern culture has become increasingly precarious as streaming platforms became the norm and attention spans waned. Even before the Coronavirus outbreak, articles were questioning movie theatres’ murky future. In mid-March, as final screenings took place, movie ticket sales fell to a historic low. And now, as movie chains shut down around the country, some of the biggest players run the risk of defaulting on piling debt.
AMC Entertainment ($AMC), Cinemark Holdings ($CNK), and U.K.-listed Cineworld Group ($LON:CINE) make up about half of America’s silver screens. The share prices for all three have plunged an average of 76% year to date, according to the Wall Street Journal.
But the potential death of the traditional movie theatre might not matter to the modern viewer. Facebook mentions of AMC surged last month amidst theatre closings — patrons requesting refunds, asking questions about upcoming releases — and has since dropped 86%. Cinemark and Regal saw a similar trend on Facebook, their mentions falling 95% and 54% respectively.
Netflix’s ($NFLX) Facebook mentions, on the other hand, jumped 82%.
Companies are downsizing accordingly. AMC has furloughed 26,000 of its 27,000 employees. Regal furloughed an estimated 24,000 of its 25,000 employees including both cinemas staffers and corporate film buyers, as Deadline reports.
Studios like Universal ($UVV) are responding by offering in-home rental for movies that were scheduled to be released in theaters. While this might be somewhat helpful in keeping the film industry afloat, it normalizes the abandonment of the traditional movie theatre experience. And if it works, studios could continue this offer post-quarantine.
About the Data:
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