AMC Theatres "Believes in Windows," Screening Room Is "Still Just an Idea," Says CEO
Adam Aron says it’s "probably" not wise to make a public comment about Sean Parker's proposed $50 home-movie service, but adds that AMC was "willing to talk with our studio partners about being creative around the edges."
Cinema giant AMC Entertainment, owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, remains tight-lipped about its detailed view of Sean Parker's Screening Room, despite reports that it has expressed support for the startup. CEO Adam Aron on Friday declined to elaborate on the proposed $50 home-movie service, but expressed his basic support for existing theatrical windows.
The proposed service was a big topic at the recent CinemaCon in Las Vegas, with most theater owners saying they worried that Screening Room would hurt their livelihood.
“Obviously, windows are important, and AMC believes in windows,” Aron said on the company's earnings conference call on Friday.
But he added: “AMC is willing to talk with our studio partners about being creative around the edges of windows. ... As was the case last year with the Paramount experiment, but fundamentally, we believe in windows.”
Aron summarized reports of the company's position, saying that “the one circuit that has been intrigued by Screening Room is AMC.” He added: "We have made no public comment about Screening Room, and I don’t think it’s probably wise to make a public comment about Screening Room today."
Continued Aron, "It’s still just an idea, until such time as they have got studios signed on and product to offer." So, "we’ll save our … commentary for private conversations" for now, "rather than fighting it out in the press whether Screening Room is a good idea," he concluded.
The AMC boss also said he continues to be “optimistic” that the planned Carmike Cinemas acquisition will close by year's end.
Aron said his team expected to "come out divesting some number of theaters where the local competition across the street and down the block is too close for comfort," adding that "we’re working with the Justice Department" on details.