Virtual Zoom backgrounds are over. The next big thing is hosting your Zoom meetings on the biggest screen possible, specifically a movie screen. And starting in 2023, Zoom Video Communications and AMC Theatres are partnering to turn some of their locations into what AMC is calling “Zoom Rooms.”
Yes, beginning in 2023, you will be able to host your Zoom meetings at an AMC, renting out 75 to 150-seat theaters so that everyone in your company can gather in one spot and admire the view from your boss’ underlit bedroom, now shown in AMC’s state-of-the-art picture and sound technology.
You can even have multiple Zoom Rooms at different theater locations across several cities, all connected into the meeting and can rent out the space for three hours at a time (just make sure the free version of the meeting doesn’t automatically time out after 40 minutes). AMC will even provide concessions, possible movie viewings and “concierge-style personalized handling of meeting needs” while you host your Zoom, but it will cost you extra.
The Zoom Rooms will launch sometime in 2023 in 17 major U.S. markets. No pricing information was revealed along with the announcement.
“One of the lessons learned during the pandemic when so many of us were forced to work remotely was the importance of a reliable, dynamic communications platform,” the theater chain’s CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “We also learned that even though we may be spread far apart, the ability to come together in person is as important as ever. That is why I’m so excited about this AMC partnership with Zoom. So many of us know how vital Zoom is in managing our enterprises. Now 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. This creates an all-new product in major cities across the U.S. for companies and meeting planners.”
In case it wasn’t obvious, movie theaters need new ways to get butts in the seats. Overall domestic box office receipts for the month greatly underperformed, and in October were only at 60% of the level they were pre-pandemic in 2019. Attendance overall is half or less than it was in 2019. Even with movies like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” on the horizon, the outlook is grim, and there’s not a lot of product around to get audiences to leave their couches.
AMC has been willing to take weird chances like this, whether it’s accepting Dogecoin in its theaters or embracing the meme that has become the Nicole Kidman pre-roll video. So if anyone can find an audience with technology like Zoom that specifically allows people to communicate without leaving the house, it’s AMC.