Could Omicron be a threat to the movie theatres?

on Dec 17, 2021
  • The much-awaited “Spiderman: No way home” opened in the United States last night.
  • IMAX CEO discussed his outlook on the movie business amidst surging Omicron on CNBC.
  • AMC is up more than 20% after over a million watched Spiderman in its U.S. theatres.

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The much-awaited “Spiderman: No way home” opened in the United States last night and did $50 million despite concerns related to the Omicron variant. Just over 10% of it went to IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX).

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The pandemic is done threatening movie theatres

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According to CEO Richard Gelfond, such a strong response suggests the pandemic is done threatening business for the movie theatres. On CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street”, he said:

I don’t think Omicron will have much of an impact on the movie business. The $5.1 million we did was the third-best opening we’ve had in the history of IMAX. If you look at the numbers, they’re extraordinarily strong over the last couple of months.

Projections for Spiderman this weekend stand at $150 million for the United States and another $150 million internationally, which, as per Gelfond, aren’t just “pandemic records” but “all-time records”.

Box office will remain strong next year

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Business for the holiday quarter, Gelfond revealed, is nearly as good as before the pandemic after a record-breaking October. He’s confident the box office will remain strong in 2022, thanks to a slate of blockbusters, including Thor and Mission Impossible set to release next year.

Most of the next year’s slate doesn’t kick in until around March or April. Dr Gottlieb expects Omicron to be a fairly short-term burnout. So, if we’re back to normal in February or March, I think it wouldn’t have much of an impact on the movie business next year.

The movie theatre turned meme stock; AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc is also up more than 20% on Friday after the Kansas-based company said more than a million people watched the new Spiderman movie at its U.S. theatres.


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