Finally, we have some positive news for New York theaters! AMC Entertainment has, this past week, finally been able to open the doors at a dozen key theatres in the state. Today, BLAKE & WANG P.A entertainment attorney takes a look at this critical step forward for the struggling theater industry, and how it could provide the incentive needed to salvage the ailing theatrical exhibition industry.
The news isn’t all good, of course. Despite Gov. Cuomo’s encouraging reopening announcement, NYC itself and some other key NY counties are still excluded. Yet New York in general has long been a kingpin of the theatrical exhibition industry, so at this point, any step forward is a welcome one.
Focusing on AMC Entertainment itself, they will now resume operations in 44 of the 45 open states where they have a presence. In New York specifically, they will be focusing on Upstate New York and Long Island. The ability to finally re-access what has always been a key market for the chain will no doubt have positive ramifications across the board.
Not a moment too soon
Gov. Cuomo’s announcement could not have come too soon. The theatrical industry in general, and exhibition theatres specifically, have been languishing in a purgatory created by lack of income since the first wave of Coronavirus lockdowns began. The situation has been exacerbated by an (understandable) reluctance on the behalf of Big Name studios to produce Blockbuster content until they have the guarantee of major markets being open to receive it.
With this in mind, seeing one of the biggest- and slowest to reopen- states finally get the ball rolling on resuming ‘business as usual’ is a massive step forward. There can be little surprise AMC CEO Adam Aron decided to include thanks to the Governor and State of New York for ‘allowing guests to return to AMC’ in his announcement. AMC has, of course, put a lot of hope (and funding) into the ‘AMC Safe & Clean’ program, focusing on establishing health protocols across all its theaters as well as reassuring guests of their dedication to guest safety. Reported guest feedback has been mostly positive to date, so the program has definitely seen traction in challenging guest fears around the virus and its transmission.
The announcement of the relaxing of rules in New York State naturally leaves many in hope of a similar decree coming for New York City itself, as well. Perhaps we’re closer than we think to seeing the exhibition industry finally able to set about recouping its many losses this year. Despite the positivity in the announcement, AMC has separately stated that the budget may run completely dry by year-end unless a bailout or significant change in market trends occurs- hopefully, the reopening of New York State will be yet another positive stepping stone to that goal!
BLAKE & WANG P.A is thrilled to see further opportunity building for the theatrical exhibition industry, and hopes that the government at both local, state, and national level will continue to support the entertainment industry in what has been its darkest hour to-date.