Times are tough for businesses across the country as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. One industry hit especially hard though is the entertainment industry and in particular, movie theaters. After all, running a movie theater just isn’t an “essential job” at the moment.
And it doesn’t matter whether it’s your local arthouse theater or a major chain, everyone is affected. Perhaps none more so than AMC Theatres. The Kansas-based company is the largest movie chain in the world but despite this, they nearly went bankrupt a week ago following the closure of all their locations in March.
But the lack of revenue isn’t stopping one party from suing them over lost wages. Landlords at a shopping mall in Hialeah, Florida are seeking $7.5 million in damages because AMC didn’t pay the rent for the month of April. To be exact, AMC owes $52,153.87 for April according to a lawsuit filed by Palm Springs Mile Associates, Ltd. Despite the special circumstances surrounding the failure to pay up, the landlords still want their money.
To say AMC Theatres has been trending downwards would be an understatement. The company reported a $5 billion-plus deficit at the end of 2019 and losses of $149 million for the year. COVID-19 is just the cherry on top, with some business analysts believing they may never open their doors again.
But they may be able to turn things around. The company initiated a $500 million debt sale in an attempt to raise money and avoid future lawsuits should they arise. AMC shares went up as a result and that could continue in the wake of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp announcing plans to reopen businesses in his state, including movie theaters, by next Monday.
This all comes down to which is more important: the economy or our health? You can’t drive to the local theater, buy popcorn and soda and sit in your seat if you’re on your deathbed. Health should always take precedent, just don’t tell that to the folks at a shopping mall in Hialeah, Florida.