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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

AMC’s Adam Aron On Theater Closures, Bullish Box Office: CinemaCon

AMC CEO Adam Aron continued to pour cold water on any notion that his No. 1 circuit is headed for Chapter 11.

“Bankruptcy is a terrible word,” said Aron on a CinemaCon Industry Think Tank Panel which also included Bill Kramer, CEO, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, as well as Cathleen Taff, President, Distribution, Franchise & Audience Insights, The Walt Disney Studios. The session was moderated by Puck’s Matt Belloni.

“I’m paid so that people don’t get hurt, my retail shareholders,” the CEO said, “(My job) is to find a path that they get helped and not hurt. There’ a lot of pain that comes with the bankruptcy process.”

Aron emphasized that in bankruptcy “shareholders get hurt, employees get hurt, communities get hurt, and my job is that I have a fiduciary obligation that these constituencies don’t get hurt.”

One issue discussed is whether the domestic box office moving forward is an $8 billion industry or is it an $10M billion one. Because the difference of $2 billion signifies companies going out of business.

Aron is bullish that the box office in 2025 and 2026 will return to pre-pandemic form. But discrepancy in product flow remains. Aron pointed tout that there were 84 movies released by the major studios in north of 3,000 theaters, but there were are only around 64 this year. “If there’s more than 64, it’s gravy to the entire system.”

Pressed whether more theaters will close, Aron fielded the query from AMC’s pov saying that “I think theaters will continue to close” but underscored in “the last four years we closed 160 out of 1000 and opened 60 news one. The gross tripled in the new theaters over the 169 we closed. Sixty that opened are $100M more profitable than ones we closed.”

“That is a natural pruning of the fleet.”

Asked whether he believed Amazon (and Apple) would remain committed to theatrical, Aron said “that’s a question for them.”

“How much money would Roadhouse have made if released in theaters,” asked Belloni.

“Lots” answered Aron then pointing out that both Apple and Amazon “are releasing more movies theatrically” then they did in recent years.

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