WASHINGTON: The Chinese Virus presents President Trump with an opportunity to push the Communist Party of China out of Hollywood, where CPC propaganda targeting Americans moviegoers poses a soft power national security threat. AMC Theatres, the largest theatrical movie exhibitor in the United States, “faces an existential threat” after the Chinese Virus pandemic forced the multiplex chain to shut down cinemas in the U.S and Britain for up to three months, Hollywood industry news site TheWrap reported.
“I don’t see how they survive this,” said Eric Sciffer, CEO of media and technology private equity firm The Patriarch Organization, according to the report.
Chinese Communist Party member Wang Jianlin is the billionaire CEO of Beijing’s Dalian Wanda Group, the majority shareholder of AMC. Jianlin is “the son of a foot soldier in Mao Zedong’s Communist Revolution” who “controls thousands of movie screens around the world” and is “in a position to advance Beijing’s interests abroad.” – Wang Jianlin, a Billionaire at the Intersection of Business and Power in China
The Hollywood Reporter announced in 2016 that the National Association of Theatre Owners, the trade group representing Chinese-owned AMC Theatres, is asking the Trump administration and Congress for an immediate bailout of theater owners amid the Wuhan Virus shutdown. – Theater Owners Urge Congress to Move Quickly on Aid; Pledge $1 million to movie theater employees
“AMC … is now the largest exhibitor in the U.S., Europe and the world, operating 900 venues with more than 10,000 screens globally. That includes 661 theaters with more than 8,200 screens in the U.S. and 244 theaters with 2,200 screens in Europe” – AMC Theatres Closes Carmike Cinemas Acquisition to Become Largest U.S. Exhibitor
The Trump administration could make any potential bailout contingent on China’s Dalian Wanda Group selling its stake in AMC Theatres to U.S. investors through an American-controlled business entity.
In a 2016 letter that specifically cited Dalian Wanda Group’s control of Hollywood productions and AMC Theatres, sixteen bipartisan Members of Congress asked the Government Accountability Office to study whether the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) need to be updated to address national security risks posed by Chinese and Russian control of American telecommunications and media companies.
If President Trump tells the National Association of Theatre Owners “No Chinese Virus bailout for Chinese-owned U.S. movie theaters,” the Dalian Wanda Group could have few viable options. That is other than putting its stake in debt-heavy AMC Theatres up for immediate sale to an American company.
Which may be a silver lining to the China Virus.