WILMINGTON — A cinema complex that opened in the late ’90s will close in two weeks on Cinema Drive.
AMC Theater, which houses 16 screening rooms, announced its closure at the end of the business day on Sunday, Oct. 15. The 111 Cinema Drive location opened in 1997 as Carmike Cinema before AMC bought the brand seven years ago.
“AMC routinely reviews the theatres in our circuit, as well as opportunities outside of our circuit, and makes decisions based on what will best strengthen the Company going forward,” a spokesperson confirmed.
According to an August report from CNN, AMC took out debt to stay afloat during the pandemic when audience numbers plummeted and still owes more than $4 billion.
Cineplexes continue to face declining attendance post Covid-19 lockdowns, as the popularity of streaming services bring more content to living rooms. Many studios now move a theatrical release to a streamer within 45 days rather than waiting seven or so months.
Still, AMC — the largest theater chain worldwide — reported July was its highest revenue month in the company’s 103-year history, due to numerous summer blockbusters: Barbenheimer, the simultaneous release “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” “Sound of Freedom” and “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”
In an earnings call in August, AMC executive vice president and CEO Sean D. Goodman reported during the second quarter the company opened two new theaters and closed 16, bringing the total number of shuttered cinemas since the pandemic to 152 locations, with 57 new total locations; it equals a net reduction of 95.
“The box office remains around 16% below pre-pandemic levels,” Goodman said on the call.
From 2017 to 2019, AMC was clearing around $11 billion annually at the box office. The first two quarters of 2023 brought in $4.4 billion, with projections to reach just more than $9 billion after Q4.
AMC operates in Wilmington among two other cineplexes: Regal Mayfaire at Mayfaire Town Center on Military Cutoff Road and The Pointe 14, operated by Stone Theaters, in the Pointe at Barclay off Independence Boulevard.
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