LOS ANGELES - “We have faith in a theatrical rebound, and we look forward to being there right out of the gate with our exhibition partners’ anticipated reemergence, as — and when — state-by-state safety guidelines are met,” said Josh Greenstein, Sony’s Motion Picture Group president.
Christopher Nolan’s long awaited action thriller “Tenet,” is expected to open in theaters on July 10, while the Solstice Studios thriller “Unhinged,” starring Russell Crowe, opens nationwide on July 1.
Sony’s announcement comes as the world’s largest movie theater chain, AMC Theatres, said it currently expects to be “fully open globally” in July, according to a June 9 release from the company.
“We are currently planning to reopen almost all of our U.S. and U.K. theatres in July, to be positioned to showcase Warner Bros’ release of Christopher Nolan’s TENET now slated for release on July 17th followed by Disney’s MULAN now slated for release on July 24th,” according to the release.
There were previous concerns on whether AMC had the financial resources to make it through the pandemic, as the company had effectively been generating no revenue since its theaters were shut down.
AMC, the largest U.S. chain, said it has enough cash to reopen its theaters this summer as planned. But if it’s not allowed to reopen, it will need more money, which it may not be able to borrow. Film delays are another concern. AMC noted that people may be afraid to go to theaters, but hopes the desire for social distancing is temporary and that people will want to go to the movies again.
“Due to these factors, substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time,” AMC wrote in a regulatory filing. The publicly traded company, controlled by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda, has 1,000 theaters in the U.S. and Europe.
Cinemark, another major movie chain that is on more solid financial footing, plans to begin reopening U.S. movie theaters on June 19. It said in a Wednesday filing that it believes it has enough cash to last it the rest of the year, even if its theaters remain shut. The company’s CEO, Mark Zoradi, said he doesn’t expect the industry to return to normal until 2022.
Cinemark on Wednesday said it’s taking a slew of measures to tempt back moviegoers as it reopens. Those include discounting and vigorous cleaning protocols for theaters, like disinfecting seats in the mornings and before each showtime. It will also require employees — but not customers — to wear masks and will stagger showtimes to thin out crowds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.