As I study my rudimentary design plans for my very own time travelling DeLorean to whisk my family and I off to a better place in time (alongside Gladys Knight & the Pips, natch), it seems as if America’s most durable and long-lasting theater chain, AMC Theatres, may have done an end-around on my Jack Finney inspired madness and gone me one better: In a celebration of this Leawood, Kansas based chain’s reopening of shuttered movie palaces throughout the nation – and the venerable institutions 100th anniversary of parlaying dreams from the silver screen into the hearts and souls of countless men, women and children – the fine ladies and gents behind the AMC curtains will be celebrating with an August 20 1920s throwback pricing on their movie tickets. In a move that would make reputed rival Willy Wonka all but salivate chocolate in envy this fifteen cent price tag will apply to any and all films the cinema giant will be showcasing on their marquee for that one particular day.
But will this move be enough to lure patrons weary and exhausted from a worldwide pandemic back into an honest-to-Pete theater? Will the clarion cry of movie magic, freshly popped popcorn and enough bubbly carbonation to make John Stith Pemberton (the founder of the one and only Coca-Cola) blush quieten people’s anxieties about the potential pitfalls for public gatherings? AMC is banking on it and here is why…
AMC has been shuttered during most of the pandemic and the August 20 date not only represents an extreme slashing for one day of their ticket prices, but it also marks the chain’s reopening of nearly one hundred U.S. screens in just one week.
Adam Aron, the Doc Brown/Si Morley of AMC (and, incidentally, also the chains Entertainment CEO) had this to say about the impending reopening: “As our guests return on our first day of resumed operations on August 20, we invite them to join us in celebrating a return to the movies, and in celebrating 100 years of AMC making smiles happen with movies at 1920 prices of only 15 cents each.”
The move to reopen the vaunted AMC chain has gained momentum recently even as virus cases have surged; nearly three hundred other AMC venues across the U.S. are anticipated to reopen within the next couple of weeks. This reawakening of the beloved movie chain comes right on the heels of several tent-pole Hollywood features which have been announced to hit the theatrical circuit opening soon: Disney’s The New Mutants is first at bat for an August 28 release while the film everyone and their pet dog Fido wants to check out, director Christopher Nolan’s time bender thriller Tenet is getting a September 3 drop date. These two films and several others (the Russel Crowe road thriller Unhinged being a notable) have eschewed the options of either streaming or simply holding back the release date until viral cases dip way down in favor of a theatrical exhibition. Enter the AMC reopening.
Much like the world itself, AMC is reopening in phases and will be operating at a reduced capacity in the interest of public safety. Their August 20 fifteen cent deal will reflect any and all safety requirements they have instituted. After the relaunch date, the chain will focus their efforts mostly on showcasing classic films such as Stand By Me and Ghostbusters until the entertainment industry begins providing – and producing – new films. These evergreen titles will have discounted ticket rates of 5.00 going forward from August 21 and as an added incentive for everyone’s hard-hit wallets, pop, candy, popcorn and other Atkins-busting foods and drinks will be sold at discounted prices through October.
It’s a crazy world out there right now Ladies and Gents and, while a 15 cent ticket price is indeed lucrative and in any other year that isn’t 2020 I’d plant myself post haste in front of an AMC ticket booth to take advantage of such a deal, I think I’ll keep tinkering away on that DeLorean; after all, much like author Jack Finney, ‘I love Galesburg in the Springtime…’