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AMC Theatres, Regal Cinemas to close due to coronavirus pandemic

Previously, the theaters had been limiting the number of people allowed inside for each screening.
/ Source: TODAY

Both AMC Theatres and Regal Cinemas announced Monday they will close their doors this week as the coronavirus continues to spread in the United States.

The movie theater chains were set to close Monday night after the last showing.

"It’s our goal to provide a safe and healthy environment for our employees and guests. We value your patronage and have no doubt we will be serving you again as soon as possible with a full slate of Hollywood blockbusters," Regal representatives said in a tweet.

"The COVID-19 situation has developed rapidly throughout the country over the last week, and during the last 48 hours more than a dozen states and major markets have mandated that movie theatres, bars and restaurants must close," AMC said in a statement on Monday night. "Today, the federal government recommended no public gatherings take place that are larger than 10 people, making movie theatre operations essentially impossible."

On Sunday, both New York and Los Angeles' mayors announced massive restrictions on entertainment, dining and large events.

AMC Theaters will stay closed for six to 12 weeks, according to the statement. Regal is closed until further notice but didn't give a timeline.

AMC is the largest movie theater chain in the U.S., and Regal is the second-largest. Both have subscription services — AMC Stubs A-List and Regal Unlimited — that allow moviegoers to see multiple films a week for around $20.

Both companies said those automatic subscriptions will be paused during the closure.

The COVID-19 virus has already forced Hollywood studios to postpone the releases of several high-profile movies, including Paramount's "A Quiet Place Part II," Disney's new live-action "Mulan," MGM's new James Bond film "No Time to Die" and Universal's "The Fast and the Furious" sequel "F9."

Monday, Universal Pictures announced some newly released movies and upcoming titles will be available for streaming.

Universal — which is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News — confirmed to NBC News it will let customers watch “Trolls World Tour” on-demand through several streaming services including Apple, Amazon, Google and Fandango, as well as others. The movie had been scheduled to open in theaters on April 10, though that will likely change if the major chains remain shuttered.

The Universal films currently in theaters — including “The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man,” and “Emma" — will cost $19.99 and will be available for a 48-hour rental period. Until now, theaters have been strict about keeping a 90-day period before movies are released for home viewing.

Disney Plus also released "Frozen 2" on Sunday — three months ahead of schedule.