Shoppers walk through the Easton Town Center Mall in Columbus, Ohio.

Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

AMC theaters will be a little less crowded going forward. 

On Friday, the company announced that it is capping its ticket availability for all showtimes going forward, allowing for only 50% seat capacity.

“With this action, we are facilitating the ‘social distance’ between guests who still want to see movies on a big screen,” Adam Aron, CEO and president, AMC Theatres, said in a statement.

No AMC auditorium will offer a capacity of more than 250 seats, the company said. This new initiative will start on Saturday and continue until April 30.

The company has also said that “hot spot” areas in facilities, like kiosks, counter tops, restrooms, handrails and doorknobs, will be cleaned hourly. It has asked guests who are not feeling well to remain home.

AMC shares were trading up 1.4% Friday. However, the stock, which has a market value of $307 million, is down nearly 60% since the start of the year.

Rival movie theater operators have also taken a hit on their stock. Cinemark, which has a market value of $1.6 billion, has tumbled nearly 60% since January. 

Representatives for Cinemark and Cineworld were not immediately available to comment about how they are handling capacity going forward. 

B&B Theaters, the sixth largest movie chain in the U.S., said it hasn’t had to reduce capacity because most of its theaters have under 250 seats. The company has instituted a stricter cleaning regimen for its facilities and reminded staff and guests to wash their hands frequently.

“The box office is under attack economically in a way that the world has never seen and many will suffer significantly because of it,” Eric Schiffer, CEO and chairman of Patriarch Organization Reputation Management Consultants, said.

“The box office has already struggled for a while and this is just another nail,” he said.

Schiffer said that most theaters, particularly smaller chains, will not be able to succeed with capacity reductions.

“Theaters will be shut down soon,” he said.

Source Article