(Reuters) – AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc <AMC.N>, the world’s largest theater chain, said on Monday it plans to open more cinemas in the United States this week, offering some hope to an industry hammered by pandemic restrictions and sending its shares up 24%.
The company said it will reopen about a dozen locations in New York state starting Oct. 23, following guidance from Governor Andrew Cuomo over the weekend, and plans to have more than 530 theaters open in the country by the end of the month.
While big theater chains such as AMC Entertainment, Cineworld Group <CINE.L> and others have reopened many locations, audiences have been thin due to virus fears and delays in major releases by studios. Small and mid-sized theater companies have said they may not survive the impact of the pandemic.
AMC’s shares have slumped nearly 60% this year and last week Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron told Reuters the company may need to raise additional capital either entirely or mostly through equity.
The company last week said it continued to explore sources of additional liquidity, as it sees its cash resources largely depleted by the end of 2020 or the start of 2021 at its existing cash-burn rate.
Earlier this month, AMC had said more than 80% of its theaters in the country would remain open.
The number of people visiting AMC’s cinemas has slumped 85% compared to last year, since they reopened after lockdowns were eased, the company said.
Cineworld, the world’s second-biggest cinema operator, said earlier this month it would close all its screens in the United States and Britain after studios delayed major releases including the latest James Bond film.
(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)