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AMC Entertainment to keep most theaters open

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Burbank
FILE PHOTO: The outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Burbank

(Reuters) - AMC Entertainment, the largest theater chain in the world, said on Tuesday most of its theaters in the United States and Europe would remain open, with several movie releases lined up for October and November.

The move comes a day after rival Cineworld, the world's second-biggest cinema operator, said it would close all its screens in the U.S. and Britain after studios delayed major releases such as the latest James Bond film.

Warner Bros said late on Monday it was delaying the release of "Dune" and "The Batman" movies.

Movie theaters across the world have been shuttered since mid-March when several countries imposed lockdowns and social distancing measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The delay in releases was an added setback for the entertainment industry.

The reluctance of studios to go ahead with major releases led Cineworld to close all 536 Regal theaters in the U.S. and its 127 Cineworld and Picturehouse theaters in the UK from Oct. 8.

AMC said more than 80% of its theaters in the United States, more than 90% of Odeon Cinemas Group theaters across Europe and all AMC Cinemas in the Middle East would remain open.

The announcement follows news reports that other movie circuits may temporarily close, AMC said.

"Some of our best partners like Disney, with its much anticipated "Soul", and Universal with "The Croods: A New Age", have new movies scheduled for theatrical release over the next month and a half," AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said.

Other upcoming releases include "The War With Grandpa" starring Robert De Niro and "Yellow Rose" this weekend and "Let Him Go", "Freaky" and "The Comeback Trail" lined up for November.

AMC's shares, which closed down about 11% on Monday following Cineworld's news, were up more than 3% in pre-market trading.

(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Shounak Dasgupta)