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Looking at AMC's expense report for each quarter they are paying about 400 millions each quarter for "Film Exhibition Costs".

What is this expense relate to? Cost of licensing to show the a specific movie? Is it paid upfront? Or after view/ticket count has been calculated per movie?

Here is the expense report for Q4 on 2019: enter image description here

Film Exhibition Cost per Quarter: enter image description here

And Attendance in thousands per quarter: enter image description here

Then finally I looked at Film Exhibision Cost in dollars per each attendance for each quarter: enter image description here

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It might be different these days with digital projectors and all, but back in the day when I worked for a theater corporation, a huge amount of expense for a given film was the cost of "the cans" - the hexagonal cans the films came rolled up in before they are spliced together (like depicted in fight club)

This may have had other more itemized expenses within it, but in general the lease cost of a can for x amount of time was a set amount - like $25,000 for some. More for others. The ticket sales were factored to absorb the cost of the cans, which is why the managers always assert that the theaters make nothing on ticket sales and are kept afloat by the concessions. I imagine this has changed a bit since I was around back in something like 2003.

It's possible that this expense you're looking at is a combination of the cost of the cans along side any additional exhibition expenses that can be tacked onto that - possibly machine maintenance, possibly that stupid fee businesses have to pay if they have any copyright music playing in lobbies, or pre-show, and expenses related to something like a contractual failure to run a single show or a run of a show.

I'm actually surprised it doesn't more closely reflect the admission sales. But once upon a time, and my memory is failing me, I had the impression that all ticket sales went back to the leasing agency except some tiny amount like 25 cents per ticket.

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