The US cinema chain that’s introducing venues for Zoom calls

Move over Black Panther! AMC cinemas want to hire out a theatre for you to make Zoom calls from!

AMC Theaters

Move over Black Panther! AMC cinemas want to hire out a theatre for you to make Zoom calls from!

Faced with a global pandemic, cinemas around the world quickly had to innovate. Deals were cut with independent filmmakers to ensure a regular flow of films, venues are being hired more and more for the likes of e-gaming on a big screen, and the variety of things that a multiplex will show has – in non-blockbuster moments – broadened.

Still, take a quid from the jar and pat yourself on the back if you saw this coming. One chain in the US – that’d be AMC – has now cut a deal with Zoom. Yep, that Zoom that people have been staring at for two years waiting for the 40-minute timer on a minute to lapse.

In the first instance, this just affects 17 multiplexes in America, but be warned: AMC owns Odeon, and this is just the kind of terrifying idea that surely would form the idea of a horror franchise.

The plan is this: people who want to make Zoom calls will be able to go to one of these AMC venues and make their calls from there. I’ve read that sentence twice and I can’t make it sound any less insane, so will press on.

Dedicated Zoom Rooms (proper noun, according to the blurb) will be introduced at these venues, and – heck, here comes the killer sentence – “will enable companies and other entities with decentralized workforces and customer bases to bring people from different markets together at the same time for cohesive virtual and in-person events and meeting experiences”.

Or, in short, “will let people make Zoom calls”.

AMC will provide the equipment for the Zoom calls, addressing the shortage of smartphones and tablets that people have clearly been struggling with. Zoom Rooms can cater for between 75 to 150 people, and I think I’ve just gone to some version of hell.

People on a Zoom call

A bunch of people who think this is a terrible idea.

The bottom of the press release – which also confirms that AMC will happily sell people food and drink – comes with a quote from someone who earns more money than me. In this case, Adam Aron, who is the chairman and CEO of AMC Theatres, and thus tasked with fronting this wheeze. “Through this partnership of Zoom and AMC, we have the best of both worlds — the spectacular communications platform of Zoom combined with the comfort, size, scale, and state-of-the-art sight and sound capabilities of AMC’s centrally located theatres”, he waffles.

“This creates an all-new product in major cities across the U.S. for companies and meeting planners”.

Smashing. If you’ve ever wanted to do a Zoom call where your low-res face was blasted onto a gigantic screen, and the sound of your muffled farts was broadcast in Dolby Atmos, this is like Christmas for you.

For the rest of us, let us lobby the government now – assuming it’s not changed again – to stop this nonsense from making it here. I’ll arrange a Zoom call about it from a more traditional location: the messiest room in my house. Take that, AMC.


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