Save this under collaborations we didn’t see coming: AMC is working on Zoom turn some of its movie theaters into huge video conferencing rooms for 75 to 150 people for when you really need your meeting to impress. AMC will even “offer food and beverages, possible movie screenings, and personalized concierge-style meeting needs handling,” but at an additional cost, of course.
The theater chain says that when companies schedule a meeting, they can book theaters around the country online so that their employees can have a similar experience on the call. When you book the service, you get a three-hour block in all theaters you select, with AMC and Zoom “providing the necessary equipment for a fully-featured Zoom Rooms experience.” (Zoom Rooms is the video calling company’s term for its) meeting room system.)
The service will not be available in every AMC theater; the company says it doesn’t plan to launch it in “up to 17 major US markets” until next year.
The press release presents the move as a way to connect remote workers by providing a “centrally located location” in cities that aren’t necessarily close to your company’s headquarters. From a business point of view, the partnership makes sense, as it allows AMC to monetize theaters that may have been empty during the day. And AMC is definitely looking for ways to make money; while it is Second quarter earnings report revealed that it is doing significantly better than in 2020 or 2021, it is still expect to announce losses during the Q3 earnings call on Tuesday.
But as someone who has attended many Zoom meetings, I feel that the theater experience can be a bit overwhelming. It’s hard to imagine any of them being improved upon by the “state-of-the-art vision and sound technology” AMC brags about. (Although I’m also struggling to think of anything that wouldn’t be improved by a bucket of popcorn.)
AMC also says that Zoom Rooms at AMC can be used for “personal events” and refers to companies that also use it to present things to customers. That feels like a nicer use of the technology; I can certainly imagine people going to their local theater to watch a Comic-Con panel or an announcement livestream from their favorite gadget maker.