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AMC Theaters CEO Lashes Out at AT&T Over HBO Max Movie News

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On Thursday, AT&T’s WarnerMedia announced that it will simultaneously release all 17 of its blockbuster films in 2021, including Matrix 4 and Space Jam 2, on HBO Max on the same day they come out in theaters. AMC, the largest theater chain in America, appears to have been blindsided by the news — or is at least profoundly unhappy with it.

“Clearly, WarnerMedia intends to sacrifice a considerable portion of the profitability of its movie studio division — and that of its production partners and filmmakers — to subsidize its HBO Max start-up,” AMC CEO Adam Aron told the New York Times in a statement. “As for AMC, we will do all in our power to ensure that Warner does not do so at our expense. We have already commenced an immediate and urgent dialogue with the leadership of Warner on this subject.”

The nuances of this are a little bit ironic since it was AMC which first got the ball rolling in this direction. Earlier this year, AMC announced a deal with NBCUniversal that shortened the exclusive theatrical window for its films from 90 days to just 17. Other theater operators were not happy when AMC made this decision — and now AMC is unhappy with the natural evolution of it, the shortening of the window even further from 17 days to zero.

The movie industry has been heading this way for awhile, and theaters are going to have to differentiate themselves by highlighting the movie theater amenities that cannot be replicated at home: enormous screens with crystal clear picture, immersive sound, 3D, and the communal experience. The overall theater experience makes paying extra money and leaving the house worth it. I believe that many theaters will figure this out, but there’s also inevitably going to be some painful restructuring along the way.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.

3 Comments

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  1. Haha.. he doesn’t like it when it’s someone else’s idea. Tough bleep, do better. Stop charging $8 for popcorn and $5 for a bottle of water like your customers are hostages and maybe you’ll be able to draw crowds away from their couch.

    • Food prices isn’t the first thing I want theaters to fix. They need to do something about jerks lighting up their cell phones during shows along with the excessive talkers. I understand they have to pay the rent and other bills, but there is no excuse for sitting on their hands when it comes to disruptive behavior. If that doesn’t improve, I will just watch things on HBO Max.

  2. Watch for a resurgence in “Drive In” movie theaters.

    With current technology, sound can be excellent (through your vehicle’s stereo or maybe Iphone?) and picture quality maybe on par with IMAX?

    What’s not to like? Bring your own (not $8) popcorn. Or maybe even your “medical marijuana”?? Or both?

    The Covid kooks, combined with the paucity of any decent films from woketard hollywood, will insure the current movie chains go the way of Blockbuster video stores . . .

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