'Venom', Bond pull in 4 mln people to AMC theaters over weekend

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An AMC theatre is pictured amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

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Oct 4 (Reuters) - Nearly 4 million people worldwide flocked to theaters owned by AMC Entertainment (AMC.N) over the weekend to watch "Venom: Let There Be Carnage" and the latest James Bond film, setting a record since the movie halls were reopened after being shut for more than a year.

Moviegoers are returning to theaters in droves after relying on Netflix (NFLX.O) and Apple TV (AAPL.O) for much of their entertainment during pandemic-induced lockdowns, leading to a surge in advance ticket bookings as a number of much-awaited titles hit theaters.

The success shows pent-up demand from moviegoers who are ever so eager to return to cinema halls, AMC Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said in a statement.

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"To the self-proclaimed sages who routinely and mindlessly predict the demise of cinemas, it is my view that it is simply wrong to underestimate the enormous consumer appeal and resilience of movie theaters," he said.

There are concerns on whether theaters will flourish in a post-pandemic world, given the way streaming services are upending the entertainment landscape.

"Venom", a superhero film based on a Marvel Comics character, opened to a reported $90 million in domestic opening weekend box office, making it the most grossed movie in the pandemic era, according to film tracking service Box Office Mojo.

Last month, AMC said attendance during the Labor day weekend surpassed that of 2019 largely helped by the release of Marvel's "Shang-Chi".

Other long-awaited titles for the year include "Ghostbusters", "West Side Story" and "Spiderman". The new James Bond movie is set to release in the United States on Oct. 8.

Shares of AMC's UK rival Cineworld (CINE.L) jumped last week also boosted by ticket sales for "No Time to Die", which was postponed at least three times from its originally planned April 2020 release. read more

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Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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