AMC Lost Theaters Over Anti-Trust Worries, And Now It's Trying To Get Them Back

COVID-19 may continue to impact movie theaters and the film industry overall, but a move by AMC indicates there is still confidence both will rebound. The theater chain, according to The Hollywood Reporter, is seeking to acquire 10 theaters operating in nine states that have been struggling financially.

But technically, these are theaters that previously belonged to AMC. Seeking regulatory approval for a $1.2 billion bid in 2016 to acquire rival Carmike Cinemas, AMC divested itself of theaters in 15 markets. Four years and one global pandemic ravaging the film business later, AMC is seeking to reclaim what it was before compelled to liquidate–re-activating an antitrust case that has been inactive in D.C. federal court.

AMC’s motion, which argues that the ability to negotiate leases and operate theaters is in the public interest, reads: “The degree of economic hardship currently being experienced by… the entire theatre exhibition industry is a unique changed circumstance that could not have been anticipated at the time the Final Judgment was entered.”

The motion is currently unopposed as of this week, which has also been full of other optimistic news for filmgoers and filmmakers alike: Russell Crowe’s psychological thriller Unhinged helped invigorate US box office last weekend to the tune of $4 million, and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet will finally–after many, many delays–be in stateside theaters starting September 3. You can read our review of Tenet here. Meanwhile, the similarly long-delayed superhero film New Mutants, is coming to theaters (and drive-ins) today.

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