In these pandemic times, the best way to watch a movie is alone rather than squished between strangers. Theaters are making that possible—but you’ll have to pay a small fortune to make it work.
Theaters have been pummeled by lockdown and social-distancing measures that make moviegoing the old-fashioned way damn near impossible. But some chains, like Alamo Drafthouse and AMC, are working around covid-19 by allowing cinema enthusiasts to simply rent the whole damn theater, which is certainly one way to practice social distancing. Prices like $150 at Alamo and $100 at AMC make this sound like an attractive, once-in-a-lifetime (hopefully) opportunity. But the devil is in the details, and if you’re hoping to catch Tenet on the big screen, you’ll have to fork over more than just a Benjamin to make it work.
AMC’s theater rental program permits up to 20 people in an auditorium for a single viewing, but it’s unclear whether that’s merely an entry fee or whether each person will have to buy a ticket or meet a food minimum, as is the case with Alamo Drafthouse rentals. What is clear is that the $100 rentals at AMC are largely limited to older films like Jurassic Park and Shrek. When selecting New Mutants or Tenet, though, AMC says that auditorium rentals will cost between $150 to $350 before tax depending on where the theater is located.
A spokesperson didn’t immediately return a request for comment about any additional fees or minimum spend requirements, and multiple calls to the listed events line went unanswered. Currently, you can book a theater through an online form, and AMC says a representative will be in touch within three days.
I miss the movies terribly, and I love the idea of being able to see New Mutants on the biggest screen possible without having to risk exposure to people outside of my family. But $350? Before snacks? I think I’ll have to wait for it to hit video on demand and settle for my 65-inch Sony instead. At least the food is free here.