Prepare the popcorn: AMC opening more movie theaters

A pedestrian walks by the newly reopened AMC 34th Street theater on March 5, 2021, in New York. AMC Theatres says it will have 98% of its U.S. movie theaters open on Friday, with more expected to open by March 26. Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. are up more than 4% before the market open on Thursday.

It's showtime! AMC Theatres says it will have 98% of its U.S. movie theaters open on Friday, with more expected to open by March 26.

Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. are up more than 4% before the market open on Thursday.

Movie theaters all over shuttered their doors a year ago as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe. While some movie theaters have opened over the past few months with limited capacity and enhanced safety protocols, the announcement by AMC to open nearly all of its U.S. theaters by month's end means more people will have more locations to choose from if they want to see a film on the big screen.

AMC said that California is expected to open 52 of its 54 locations by Monday. The company is preparing to resume operations at the rest of its California locations once the proper local approvals are in place. AMC previously opened more than 500 of its theaters elsewhere around the country.

AMC's safety protocols include social distancing and automatic seat blocking in each theater, mandatory mask wearing, hand sanitizing stations, upgraded air filtration, contactless ticketing and mobile ordering for food and drinks.

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