Will The Movies Be More Expensive Once Theaters Reopen? Here's What Could Happen

Tim Blake Nelson and George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(Image credit: (Universal))

As the majority of U.S. movie theaters pass the five-month mark of being closed to the public this week, the summer movie season looks a lot different than what was mapped out just a couple months ago. Warner Bros’ Tenet is heading to the international market first, Disney has decided to take Mulan to Disney+ for a premium rate, leaving The New Mutants as one of the few major releases currently holding at its coming date. As AMC Theatres preps to open some of its locations soon, moviegoers may notice a new price tag.

It’s no secret that chains, including AMC Theatres, have suffered massive losses since the effects of COVID-19 have swept the globe. AMC reportedly lost over half a billion dollars in its recent financial quarter, but its CEO, Adam Aron, remained optimistic about the future while on a business call with investors and analysts, per Variety. Fresh off striking a major and game-changing deal with Universal, Aron declared the company has “survived the corona crisis,” before alluding to potential price hikes for theatergoers due to the chain’s new cleaning and safety policies.

Adam Aron briefly talked about how AMC’s new procedures will be costing the company extra money, which will need to be “passed on to the consumers.” It’s unclear if these costs will trickle down to movie ticket prices, popcorn prices or both. AMC might need to raise its prices in order to cut its losses after five months without being in business. But just how much? Many consumers are being affected by the economic crisis as well, so theaters will need to tread carefully about potential price shifts.

The new policies AMC Theatres is planning to put in place include routine disinfection of surfaces, social distancing standards and theaters at reduced capacities. The company is also simplifying its menu, and refills will be kept to a minimum. Moviegoers and AMC associates will be required to wear masks. Theater employees will be subject to daily health screenings and be expected to frequently wash their hands. Oh, and cash will not be accepted at AMC locations for the time being.

AMC Theatres recent deal with Universal changed the theater chain's exclusivity deal (which has long been 90 days) to 17 days. The new partnership will allow the studio to rent new movies for at least $20, with AMC receiving a cut of the revenue. This decision was made after AMC threatened that it would no longer show Universal films in its theaters following the release of Trolls World Tour straight-to-VOD.

Other theater chains, including Regal and Cinemark, have oppositions to the AMC/Universal deal, but Adam Aron believes it will have AMC ”coming out ahead” and that other studios and chains will follow this model. Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more updates on theater openings.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.