Cinemas close nationwide, studios push new movies into homes

AMC Theaters announced on Tuesday its closing its theaters after President Trump urged against gatherings of 10 or more people. (Source: CNN)

NEW YORK (AP) — Movie theaters in the United States have closed nationwide due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s an unprecedented shutdown for nearly all of the country’s 40,000-plus screens.

The largest chains had tried to remain open even as Hollywood postponed its upcoming release plans. But guidelines for social distancing steadily diminished the recommended size of crowds.

President Trump on Monday urged against gatherings of more than 10 people.

AMC Theaters, the nation’s largest chain, said Tuesday its theaters would close altogether for at least six to 12 weeks. Regal Movies followed suit and announced they will be closing their theaters indefinitely starting Tuesday.

Universal Pictures on Monday said it will make its current and upcoming films available for on-demand rental, becoming the first major studio to turn directly to home viewing in light of the virus.

The studio said it will put movies currently in theaters — “Invisible Man,” “The Hunt,” “Emma” — up for rental on-demand beginning as early as Friday.

It also said that “Trolls World Tour," one of the only major release left on the April film-release calendar, will open “day-and-date,” debuting in theaters and on-demand services as a $19.99 rental simultaneously.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray Media, Inc. contributed to this report.