Michigan isn’t included in next week’s AMC movie theater reopenings
When AMC announced plans Thursday to reopen more than 100 theaters in the United States on Aug. 20, it released a list of specific locations that would be involved.
Missing from that list? Any sites in Michigan, where most movie theaters remain closed under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s orders aimed at reducing COVID-19’s spread.
For now, the closest cities to Detroit that AMC has slated for Aug. 20 reopenings are Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana, and Chicago, Illinois.
AMC has a total of 14 locations throughout Michigan, including seven in metro Detroit. They are located in
Auburn Hills, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Livonia, Madison Heights, Sterling Heights and Woodhaven.
Like other indoor cinemas, AMC, the largest U.S. chain, shut down in mid-March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, it has set and delayed target dates in June and July for reopening.
Under the current plan to roll out a restart, AMC expects to have two-thirds of its more than 600 U.S. theaters open by Sept. 3. That’s the same day as the release date for “Tenet,” the action thriller from director Christopher Nolan that has been viewed as crucial to getting movie theaters back in business.
“The remainder of AMC’s U.S. theatres will open only after authorized to do so by state and local officials,” the company’s news
Most movie theaters in Michigan have been closed since mid-March. In mid-June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula to Phase 5 of the state’s reopening plan.
The rest of the state is still waiting to get the OK to reopen cinemas.
“Governor Whitmer is continuing to monitor cases and make decisions based on the best data and science. As she has said all along, she will adjust as necessary when it comes to reengaging Michigan’s economy safely,” said Whitmer spokeswoman Tiffany Brown via email on Thursday.
Last week, Whitmer extended her order that declares a COVID-19 emergency through Sept. 4. It was set to expire Tuesday.
More: Entire movie theater industry could hinge on release ‘Tenet’
In metro Detroit, movie theater owners have been frustrated that Michigan has lumped together cinemas with concert halls and other indoor performance venues in its reopening plan.
Owners like Cory Jacobson of the Phoenix Theatres in Livonia, Wayne and Monroe, have argued that movie theaters, in terms of physical layout and safety issues, are more like restaurants, which have been allowed to reopen.
Tension flared two months ago between Whitmer’s office and the Emagine Entertainment chain when Emagine chairman Paul Glantz announced a Juneteenth benefit film festival at Emagine Royal Oak. The event was scrapped after the state Attorney General’s Office warned Glantz by letter that criminal charges would be filed if the festival happened.
Emagine Royal Oak sued Whitmer, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and another state official, but a federal judge sided with Whitmer and denied the suit’s claim that the Michigan order amounted to a violation of constitutional rights covered by the First Amendment.
Even in areas of Michigan where movie theaters can open, most sites remain closed, in large part because the economics have been challenging without any new releases from Hollywood yet to screen.
The Pines Theatre, a 450-seat, single-screen location in Houghton Lake, reopened in mid-June with older hits like 1985’s “Goonies.” It closed again in July after finding the attendance didn’t justify the costs involved with the screenings. The Pines now aims to reopen on Aug. 28 in hopes of new films arriving by then.
AMC’s Thursday announcement came with a major promotion to encourage people to return to its theaters. It will be offering 15-cent tickets on Aug. 20 to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The company that grew into AMC Entertainment began in 1920 with a single-screen theater in Kansas City, Missouri.
For the reopening, it will show
hits like “Ghostbusters,” “Black Panther” and
“Back to the Future.” After Aug. 20, those older films will have ticket prices of $5.
In the release, AMC also touted details of its “safe & clean” healt…
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