AMC Theatres, North America’s largest cinema chain, has ordered the closure of all its venues for up to 12 weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

AMC, which has roughly 630 locations and 11,000 screens, announced its decision after other closures were made throughout the day yesterday (Tuesday), including Regal Cinemas, which is the second-largest movie chain in the US.

Prior to the chain’s announcement, New York City and Los Angeles, the country’s two busiest moviegoing markets, were among the several states that mandated the closure of cinemas, as well as bars and restaurants.

AMC said the closure will be for between six to 12 weeks.

AMC chief executive Adam Aron said: “We are ever so disappointed for our moviegoing guests and for our employee teams that the new CDC guidelines that Americans should not gather in groups larger than 10 people make it impossible to open our theatres.

“Still, the health and well-being of AMC guests and employees, and of all Americans, takes precedence above all else.”

AMC has become the first movie theatre chain to indicate the expected length of closures, while Regal Cinemas has left the end date open with the phrase “until further notice.”

The announcement follows this past weekend’s North American box office figures falling to their lowest levels for over two decades.

Sales fell by 44 per cent from just a week prior to $56m across the US and Canada, with revenues having not been this low since September 2000 when $54.5m in tickets were sold, according to data from Comscore.

Image: Elliott Brown