• Market Crumbs

You Can Now Rent A Movie Theater

Image via Karen Zhao on Unsplash

Movie theater operators have been some of the worst hit businesses since the coronavirus outbreak. Just in the last couple of weeks alone, AMC warned it may run out of cash by the end of the year while B&B Theatres, the sixth-largest cinema chain in the U.S., said it may have to file for bankruptcy protection in the next few months.

The sector got a boost yesterday following comments over the weekend by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said that select movie theaters in New York state will be able to reopen this Friday. Cinemas across the state, except for those in New York City and counties with high Covid-19 infection rates, will be able to reopen at 25% capacity.

AMC said it will open a dozen locations in New York and with it, will now be operational in 44 of the 45 states in which it has theaters.

"The reopening of movie theaters around the country is essential to the theatrical industry and the entire entertainment ecosystem. It has become clear that movie studios are not willing to release blockbuster product until key major markets are open," AMC CEO Adam Aron said. "Therefore, it is a monumental step in the right direction for our entire industry that theaters are starting to open across the state of New York."

Shares of AMC rallied more than 30% yesterday before finishing the day with a gain of 16%. Shares of rival movie theater operator Cinemark closed nearly 7% higher after being up more than 14%. However, shares of AMC and Cinemark are now down about 50% and 75%, respectively, so far this year.

Comscore Inc. says about 48% of U.S. movie theaters have reopened so far. With many people still hesitant to venture out to a movie theater, operators are coming up with new ways to drive traffic.

AMC joined Cinemark and Alamo Drafthouse in offering customers the opportunity to rent out an entire movie theater. AMC's offer allows you to rent out a theater for $99, with the ability to select new films such as Tenet or older classics such as Jurassic Park or The Nightmare Before Christmas. New releases will set you back between $149 and $349, however.

"We continue to see state and local governments all across the United States recognize the strong steps we have taken through AMC Safe & Clean to ensure that we are reopening responsibly and with a focus on the health and safety of our guests and associates," Aron said.

As movie theater operators continue to race against time for their survival, the move to reopen theaters in New York will surely be welcomed.

Leftover Crumbs

  • 4G is coming to the moon. Nokia has been selected by NASA to build a 4G network on the moon as part of NASA's Artemis program, which hopes to build a human presence there. The technology developed by Nokia will provide connectivity for "any activity that astronauts need to carry out" such as voice and video communication as well as robotic control. "We are now building the first ever cellular communications network on the moon," Nokia chief technology officer Marcus Weldon said. "Reliable, resilient and high-capacity communications networks will be key to supporting sustainable human presence on the lunar surface."

  • TSA screenings top 1 million. TSA screenings exceeded 1 million on Sunday for the first time since March, according to the Transportation Security Administration. 1.03 million passengers were screened on Sunday, the most since March 16, but the total is still 60% lower than the same period a year ago. So far this month airport screenings are down about 65% compared to down 90% in April at the height of the coronavirus.

  • CVS announces hiring spree. CVS announced it will hire 15,000 employees in anticipation of Covid-19 and the flu spreading this fall and winter. More than 10,000 of the positions will be full- and part-time licensed pharmacy technicians who will be "vital to administering Covid-19 tests," according to CVS. The 15,000 new openings are part of CVS' plan to hire 50,000 employees as part of its coronavirus response. CVS intends to begin hiring "as soon as possible" in order to help "increase support for patients and fellow pharmacy professionals."

  • ConocoPhillips acquires Concho Resources. ConocoPhillips announced it will acquire Concho Resources for $9.7 billion in an all-stock deal. The deal marks the largest shale deal this year and will make ConocoPhillips one of the largest producers in the Permian Basin. The deal equates to a price of $49.30 per share for Concho, which represents a premium of about 15% from when rumors of the acquisition first hit on October 13. Following the deal, Concho shareholders will receive 1.46 shares of ConocoPhillips for each share they own.

  • SpaceX launches more satellites. SpaceX successfully launched 60 Starlink satellites on Sunday from the Kennedy Space Center, bringing its total to 835 satellites successfully launched so far. Of the 835, some were test satellites that are not operational and have been decommissioned. SpaceX employees are testing the satellite internet service internally and intend to have a public beta available by the end of this year.