AMC Has A Crazy Idea: Combine Theaters And Zoom For Meetings

American movie theatre chain AMC Theatres has joined hands with Zoom, in hopes that you will enjoy your team video calls more if they happened on a giant cinema screen with a surround sound experience and a bucket of popcorn in your lap. As part of the partnership with Zoom, AMC will turn some of its movie theatres into Zoom Rooms, on a rental basis, and with a few optional perks.

The idea is to bring "people from different markets together at the same time for cohesive virtual and in-person events and meeting experiences,", especially for companies that have their workforce scattered across the map and could need the occasional "real" meeting experience. AMC says it will lend a helping hand with its "state-of-the-art sight and sound technology" to elevate the experience of virtual Zoom Rooms sessions.

AMC's collaboration with Zoom could add some much-needed revenue to the company's coffers after surviving a tumultuous past few years involving events like a close encounter with bankruptcy filing and facing ridicule as a meme stock. AMC won't talk in detail about the "in-person" aspect of its deal in the press release, but it sounds tailor-made for hosting virtual live screenings of popular events covering games, comic cons, and sports, among others. Sports screenings in cinemas draw in handsome crowds, especially in countries like India where cricket match screenings in theater chains record a passionate turnout of fans.

Meetings go theatrical

AMC says it hopes to launch its novel business venture with Zoom at some point in 2023, covering as many as 17 of its key markets in the United States. For businesses hoping to give their Zoom meetings a cinematic experience, they can book their sessions in slots lasting three hours each. The company says a typical audience for its novel offering should be anywhere between 75 and 150 participants, based on the seating capacity at hand.

Those booking a virtual meeting slot with a theatrical twist won't have to worry about the hardware or software infrastructure necessary for the session. To further sweeten the deal, the partnership also entails add-ons like food and beverage arrangements, movie-watching, and concierge services. Of course, all these additional services will cost extra.

AMC Theatres chief Adam Aron mentioned that the Zoom partnership covers "daytime hours on weekdays when most meetings take place." It's a clever way to put things around, as theatres are mostly devoid of any meaningful crowd during weekdays, especially during the daylight hours. The AMC executive also added that with its Zoom partnership, it Is entering the lucrative "multi-billion market for corporate and other meetings." 

In the not-too-distant past, AMC has dabbled with the on-demand video streaming segment to diversify its revenue sources, a MoviePass alternative of its own, and opening its hearts to cryptocurrency payments like Bitcoin. The company even tried to ride the NFT wave with a limited collection of Spider-Man NFT digital collectibles.