Amazon wants to add physical movie theaters to its empire

AMC is on the verge of bankruptcy. Amazon is making tons of cash right now. This could be a perfectly strategic purchase for both parties.

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Amazon might just break into the movie theater industry with the purchase of AMC Theaters, according to hot goss from the Daily Mail. Neither Amazon nor AMC has responded to the rumors just yet, and it’s unclear whether or not the rumored deal is still in talks.

AMC’s stock prices soared by about 45 percent on Monday in response to the whispers circulating the web, hitting a high of $6.41 per share early yesterday morning. The price has since evened out a bit to roughly $5.60 per share.

Like most movie theaters, AMC is struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing has forced theaters to close their doors across the U.S., seeing as cramped, dark spaces aren’t ideal for stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s business has boomed during the pandemic, leading to massive hiring boosts and truckloads of cash for CEO Jeff Bezos. That puts Amazon in the perfect position to swoop in and save the day for AMC. The move would position Amazon as a savior for the AMC empire while also giving Amazon much, much more power in the world of media.

Amazon has found success in media — Amazon’s Prime Video, which first launched all the way back in 2006 as Amazon Unbox, has grown immensely in the last few years. The success of the company’s original programming such as Transparent and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel have raised Prime Video out of obscurity and into the spotlight. Now the service is frequently ranked as having some of the best offerings alongside other long-time streaming giants like Netflix and Hulu.

But its movies are still lacking — Prime Video still has one big blind spot: original movies. Sure, Amazon has produced some big-name comedy specials and a handful of documentaries, but Amazon has only just dipped its toes into the waters of big-budget filmmaking. That really sets it apart from its competitors; Netflix, for example, now produces multiple award-winning movies every year.

Purchasing AMC would catapult Amazon right to the top of the movie-making food chain. It would give the company a place to showcase original content and a reason to aim higher with its film aspirations.

Will it happen? — Very unclear at the moment. Though this would be a strategic opportunity for Amazon to continue its foray into the world of original media, AMC is really on its last legs. Some investors are all but certain the company will file for bankruptcy soon, the Daily Mail reports.

The downward trend of moviegoing is likely to continue even after theaters are allowed to reopen; fear of catching COVID-19 won’t just go away once state and local governments relax their rules. Amazon’s purchase of AMC would be an uphill battle for the conglomerate, but one that could prove very fruitful if played well.