AMC Theatres’ reopening plans, announced August 13, included more detailed safety measures, a gradual rollout, and several ticket and concession promotions. The element that grabbed the most media attention was the one featured in the headline of its press release: “AMC Theatres Reopens Its Doors on August 20 by Celebrating 100 Years of Operations with ‘Movies in 2020 at 1920 Prices.’”
There’s nothing wrong with a marketing tactic, and the stunt might lead some people to learn more about AMC’s overarching strategy. However, this is the world’s largest exhibitor announcing its return to business after being waylaid by the ongoing pandemic. By trumpeting one-day, 15-cent ticket pricing at approximately 100 locations — which allows audiences to see blockbuster classics like “Ghostbusters,” the same films that played drive-ins all summer — it reads as an industry addressing an existential crisis with a William Castle gimmick.