The worst may be over for the movie theater industry. Variety reports that AMC Theaters has reached a deal with Warner Bros. to shorten its theatrical window to 45 days starting in 2022. This will coincide with a moratorium on WB movies streaming on HBO Max alongside their theater debuts. A similar deal has been in place with Cineworld – owner of Regal Cinemas – since April. AMC is beginning to flex its crypto-enhanced muscles in other areas as well after being on the verge of collapse only a year ago. First, the company plans to buy at least ten theaters, adding to its already nationwide-dominant slate. And, in a bit of a thank-you to its saviors, AMC’s theaters will allow you to buy tickets and snacks with bitcoin, with an aim to add other forms of cryptocurrency like Apple Pay and Google Pay by next year. AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron even suggested the chain may team with GameStop – the other company rescued by crypto – to host gaming events.
Vindication is vindicating sometimes. I’ve been saying since the simultaneous releases began that calling time of death on movie theaters was premature. The practice simply isn’t viable for the studios in the long term. Even if they see an immediate bump in subscriptions to their streaming services, they’ll eventually reach a point where nobody else can sign up, and those expensive movies they love to produce aren’t going to pay for themselves, even if they prove to be popular. (Although I think a bunch of recent big-budget flops are exacerbating Hollywood’s rude awakening on that score.) Aron and the rest of the AMC board members must be breathing a sigh of relief; even if this outcome was inevitable, it was never a guarantee that any of the current theater chains would make it through the lockdowns intact. It also makes me wonder if those involved know something we don’t about another round of lockdowns; the theaters and studios are both banking pretty heavily on that abomination not happening again. As much as it makes me grin to watch the Hollywood elite see their industry get leveled by the same people they sacrifice their likability to simp for, I want the movies to come back and be released in theaters. Disney will probably be a tougher nut to crack than Warner Bros., but the theaters have some help from Black Widow herself, and that may prove even more satisfying than a mutually beneficial deal like this one. It’s also nice to see AMC throw its new shareholders a bone by accepting bitcoin now. Cryptocurrency investors saved their bacon, and they deserve a thank-you like that.
Are you glad AMC and Warner Bros. have reached an agreement? Did you miss going to the movies while they were closed? Am I a hypocrite if I admit that I’m glad I didn’t have to pay $18 to sit through The Suicide Squad? Let us know in the comments and stick around Geeks + Gamers for more movie news!