Only 50 people per show, please, says AMC theater and theater operator

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Mar 16 (Reuters) – AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc said Monday it will limit attendance at its U.S. theaters to a maximum of 50 people per show, effective immediately, due to the spread of the coronavirus, causing its shares to drop. 21%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a guide Sunday to cancel or postpone events across the country that have 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.

US officials have so far recorded nearly 3,000 cases and 65 deaths. Globally, more than 162,000 people have been infected and more than 6,000 have died.

AMC said it complied with the CDC recommendation, although it was not a legal requirement in most jurisdictions in the United States.

“We anticipate these headwinds to be transitory and expect growth to re-establish in the medium term,” benchmark analysts said after lowering the stock’s rating from “buy” to “hold.”

However, the brokerage said it was concerned that AMC had enough financial flexibility to cover a longer-than-expected slowdown or a complete closure of its theater network.

AMC operates 1,004 theaters and 11,041 screens in 15 countries, including 636 theaters and 8,094 screens in the United States.

Movie theaters, which have been facing streaming services like Netflix and Disney +, were also affected by the postponement of many movies.

Hollywood studios have postponed the upcoming James Bond thriller “No Time to Die”, Disney’s “Mulan” and the ninth “Fast and Furious” from Comcast Corp’s Universal Pictures.

(Report by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore. Edited in Spanish by Lucila Sigal)

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