AMC Theaters delays reopening by 2 weeks amid coronavirus concerns

Moviegoers eager to sit in a traditional movie theater will need to be patient a bit longer as the nation’s largest chain delays its reopening plans.

AMC Theaters is pushing back its plans to begin reopening theaters by two weeks following the closure because of COVID-19. The company said Monday that it would open approximately 450 U.S. locations on July 30 and the remaining 150 the following week.

The company had planned to begin opening theaters in mid-July, but last week the July theatrical release calendar was effectively wiped clean when Disney and Warner Bros. decided to delay the releases of “Mulan” and “Tenet.” The films now have August premiere dates.

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FILE - In this April 29, 2020 file photo, the AMC sign appears at AMC Burbank 16 movie theater complex in Burbank, Calif. 

FILE – In this April 29, 2020 file photo, the AMC sign appears at AMC Burbank 16 movie theater complex in Burbank, Calif.  (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

The popular theater chain caught backlash this month after announcing its initial reopening plan, which did not include making masks mandatory out of fear of “political controversy.”

AMC CEO and President Adam Aron said that its general managers across the U.S. started working full-time Monday to get their buildings ready to reopen.

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“We continue to devote extraordinary resources into our plan to operate our theatres with a hyper commitment to the safety and health of our guests and associates,” Aron said in a statement.

Most indoor U.S. theaters have been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. But both independent locations and major chains are readying to reopen within the next month.

FILE - In this April 29, 2020 file photo, a message on the ticket window at the AMC Burbank 16 movie theaters complex informs potential customers that it is currently closed in Burbank, Calif. 

FILE – In this April 29, 2020 file photo, a message on the ticket window at the AMC Burbank 16 movie theaters complex informs potential customers that it is currently closed in Burbank, Calif.  (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

However, plans could continue to change given the reported surge of cases in a number of states.

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the state would delay reopening cinemas while it continued to research the safety of indoor, air-conditioned venues.

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AMC expects its approximately 1,000 worldwide locations to be open by early August.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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