The decision comes as several states are considering or reimplementing some coronavirus closure measures as cases increase in much of the country.
The theater chain had planned to begin a multi-phase reopening on July 15, with the goal of being fully operational by July 24. Now, AMC (AMC) It will begin the reopening process with 450 US theaters on July 30, and aims to have almost all of its 600 US theaters fully operational by "early August," the company said Monday.
The new timeline will mean AMC theaters will reopen in time for the August 12 release of Warner Bros "Tenet" and the August 21 release of Disney & # 39; s (DIS) "Mulan". Both films have been repeatedly delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic (Warner Bros and CNN share the same parent company, WarnerMedia).
"We continue to dedicate extraordinary resources to our plan to operate our theaters with a hyper-commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates," CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.
US theaters are the final phase of the company's global reopening – locations in Europe and the Middle East reopened in June or will reopen in July.
AMC closed all of its theaters on March 17 due to the pandemic, and the closure has greatly affected its business. Earlier this month, the theater chain said it had "substantial doubts" about its ability to stay in business after the shutdown. The company reported a net loss of $ 2.17 billion in its first quarter.
Therefore, getting customers back to theater seats and ensuring they feel safe being there is crucial to AMC.
The company has implemented a health and sanitation program called "AMC Safe & Clean," which includes initially limiting movie times to 30% seating capacity and cleaning each theater between hours, among other measures.
AMC sparked a backlash from customers earlier this month when it said guests would be "strongly" encouraged to wear masks in US theaters in areas where local government restrictions do not require them. The company then reversed course and said it would require all US customers to wear masks while in theaters.
"(The clients) wanted us to demand masks," Aron said in an interview with CNN's Richard Quest last week. "We have a revised policy that requires masks at all of our theaters in the United States, and that pleased our guests, and of course that's a safer way to do it."
Aron also suggested that AMC feel somewhat better about its financial prospects as the company reopens, despite the fact that it will have to limit capacity in American theaters.
"Financially, we believe we can do well because the reality is that movie theaters are not that crowded, actually, in normal times," Aron said in the interview. "We only fill between 15% and 20% of our seats. So if we limit the number of seats we sell, we can actually survive economically."