The largest theater chain in the U.S. will resume operations in the state following Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to allow theaters to reopen in some parts of the state as part of relaxed coronavirus protocols.
"Now that we can open in New York, that means the Christmas movies will hold and we can see blockbuster movies in 2021. Finally with New York open, we can say that our future is bright again," Chief Executive Adam Aron told CNBC Monday.
About a dozen AMC locations are expected to resume operations on Friday, primarily in Upstate New York and on Long Island. New York City theaters will remain closed per government mandates.
The move applies to theaters in areas that are below 2% on their 14-day average of positive coronavirus cases and have no cluster zones.
The theaters will open at 25% occupancy with as many as 50 people per theater.
AMC expects to have 530 of its 600 theaters open by the end of October. Starting Friday, AMC will have locations open in 44 or the 45 states where it has theaters.
"It has become clear that movie studios are not willing to release blockbuster product until key major markets are open," Aron said in a statement Monday.
"Therefore, it is a monumental step in the right direction for our entire industry that theatres are starting to open across the state of New York."
The company says that it will continue to have discussions with local authorities about resuming operations in places where it is still prohibited.
AMC shares at last check were up 7.6% to $3.27.