Movie theater chain AMC is in rough shape. The pandemic is putting them on the brink of becoming the next in a growing line of major brands that operate dozens of sprawling physical locations that were already struggling to find their place in a new digital world -- and then the pandemic came along. While companies like Neiman Marcus and Hertz had to file for bankruptcy protection, AMC might have a potential suitor waiting in the wings to save them: Amazon. Don't worry, that ominous melodramatic musical sting you heard is just a naturally occurring that happens whenever Amazon further consolidates the market into their hands.
If/when this rumor becomes a reality, it will change the movie-going landscape overnight. We're all going to ask questions like, will an Amazon-owned AMC theater run a Netflix movie's theatrical run, considering Amazon's streaming service Prime Video is in direct competition with Netflix? The answer will likely be "may-- maybe?" because Amazon does what Amazon wants. This move could usher in a new era of exclusivity that has a lot more in common with the video game industry than the modern movie industry. Just like how you're going to need a PS4, and only a PS4, if you want to play The Last of Us 2, you might need to go to an Amazon-AMC to watch the latest Oscar bait flick. Then the arms race begins, and before you know it, you're traveling 20 miles out of your way to catch the latest Adam Sandler flick in the one Netflix-Cinemark theater in your city. Happy Gilmore would have been worth the gas mileage, but The Ridiculous 6 is harder to justify.
The only thing that could put a stop to this radical change to the theater-going experience is a Supreme Court ruling from 1948. Movie studios used to own their own theater chains in the early days of Hollywood. The Supreme Court put an end to that by telling Paramount Pictures to split that shit up or be sentenced to death, or be put in timeout, or however major corporations are punished. Does that case apply to online retailers that let you watch The Marvelous Ms. Maisel and order a 55-gallon drum of sex lube from the same place? Only time will tell.
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Catch him on the "In Broad Daylight" podcast with Cracked alums Adam Tod Brown and Ian Fortey! Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. Listen to the first episode on Youtube!
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