Top N. American movie theaters slash capacity over virus

North America's top movie theaters will reduce capacities by half over the coronavirus pandemic to allow "social distancing" between customers, the companies said Friday.

AMC -- the largest chain with 8,000 screens across the continent -- will cap US audiences at 50 percent from Saturday through to the end of April.

"With this action, we are facilitating the 'social distance' between guests who still want to see movies on a big screen," said Adam Aron, president of AMC Theatres, in a statement to AFP.

Audiences will be capped at 250 people for any screen regardless of capacity, under the "aggressive, nationwide steps to provide additional space between guests."

Staff will sanitize "high-touch" areas such as ticket kiosks every hour.

Regal -- with over 7,000 screens -- announced similar measures, as did Canada's Cineplex.