Kansas City theaters gear up for a 2021 comeback

The COVID-19 pandemic forced AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. – the world’s largest theater operator – to shut down all of its roughly 1,000 locations last year. The squeeze has forced the Leawood-based company to lay off employees, workers from concessions to CEOs, and scramble for months to avoid running out of cash.

It was a similar scene in the Liberty-based B&B theaters, which have around 50 locations. The seconded employees included members of the Bagby family, who own the chain, as the company struggled to avoid bankruptcy.

“It was the most stressful time in my family’s life”, Brock Bagby, executive vice-president in charge of programming, real estate development and acquisitions, said at one point. “We are 96 years old. We have never experienced anything like this.

But even as CEO of AMC Adam aron discussed a 2020 which included a loss of more than $ 4.5 billion in an earnings call in March, he expressed his optimism. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and a gradual reopening of the economy reinforced his belief that AMC had weathered the storm.

“We don’t focus on survival anymore, but we have now turned to making a flurry of movies and the revival of AMC,” he said.

Aron is not alone in his outlook. Theater operators are banking on a comeback as cinemas provide a community experience and amenities that cannot be replicated at home.

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