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Can ‘The Mandalorian’ Save Star Wars?

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Can ‘The Mandalorian’ Save Star Wars?

This article was published online on June 21, 2021.

When I look out my window, a few floors up in New York City, I see Star Wars. Rooftop bouquets of dirty satellite dishes, jumbled architectural styles united by peeling paint, variously shaped (and largely face-masked) life-forms jostling on the sidewalk—each sign of shabby modernity feels like something I glimpsed in childhood while hypnotized by George Lucas. In the director’s 1977 space fantasy, wizards lived in what appeared to be crumbling stucco huts, and moon-size superweapons had onboard trash compactors. As a kid, I believed that Earth was just another planet in Lucas’s universe. Today, I’m still susceptible to that lovely illusion.

The Star Wars franchise offers action and escapism, but re-enchanting our own world was always its greatest trick. As Luke Skywalker rises from backwater farmhand to galactic savior over the course of the first three films, audiences gain a visceral sense of why the galaxy he lives in is worth saving. Debris-strewn sets convey that exotic planets have history and commerce. Silly-looking critters and robots carry themselves with dignity and purpose. A supernatural “Force” hums throughout the interstellar menagerie. Viewers come to feel a humanistic, or even animistic, connection. Star Wars immerses you in the awesome knowledge that peripheral things—the neighbors you don’t understand, the buildings you don’t notice—have their own sagas.

Right now, Star Wars is at a turning point. Lucas’s original vision famously inspired an era of big-budget blockbuster movies whose creators, just as famously, eventually ran out of new ideas and came to rely on sequels and spin-offs. Inevitably, Star Wars itself succumbed to that fate. After releasing a divisive trio of prequels around the turn of the millennium, in 2012 Lucas sold his franchise to Disney, Hollywood’s chief recycler of old stories. Fresh Star Wars films began to roll out in 2015. Though early acclaim and profits were impressive, creative troubles began to hurt the bottom line. In 2019, dismayed reviews and relatively soft ticket sales greeted The Rise of Skywalker, the finale of a trilogy set 30 years after the action of the first films. Around that time, Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, announced a moviemaking “hiatus” for Star Wars.

Had Lucas’s galaxy lost its power, or had its new stewards simply mismanaged it? The recent success of a remarkable Star Wars television series suggests the latter. When the streaming-TV service Disney+ launched in late 2019, it featured The Mandalorian, which picks up five years after the events of the original trilogy, and follows the adventures of a mysterious mercenary who has sworn never to take off his helmet. By the end of Season 2, a critical consensus had emerged: It was the best live-action Star Wars product to arrive since the early 1980s. Millions of viewers cooed over the short-statured enigma known to fans as Baby Yoda, who has a price on his adorable head for unknown reasons. As The Mandalorian’s laconic and lethal hero travels from one planet to the next, the sublime feeling of immersion that laced Lucas’s early movies reemerges. To watch the show and then look back at the sweep of Star Wars history is to understand where that feeling comes from—and why most of Hollywood’s hero-driven, special-effects-laden fantasies never attain it.

The plot of The Mandalorian unspools like a thin, near-invisible thread: Each week, the protagonist completes a discrete quest that unobtrusively points the way toward the next quest. The pleasure of watching lies very much in the journey and not the destination. This episodic, open-ended style of entertainment is a hallmark of dramatic TV—but it’s also very Star Wars. Soon after its initial success, the first movie was retitled Episode IV—A New Hope because Lucas wanted viewers to feel as though the film were one chapter in an ongoing Saturday-morning serial. In the new book Secrets of the Force: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Wars, by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, Lucas says this of his work on the first film: “It’s always been what you might call a good man in search of a story.”

What Lucas means is that when conceiving Star Wars, he dreamed first of visuals, concepts, and feelings—not of plot. He felt drawn to make “a movie in outer space like Flash Gordon used to be. Ray guns, running around in spaceships, shooting at each other.” He also wanted to mash up tropes from samurai films, Westerns, and spy flicks. Above all, he wanted a look and feel that prized “credibility” rather than the “clean,” sleek sci-fi of 1950s serials and 2001: A Space Odyssey. His own days working in a greasy mechanics’ shop, plus the thought of NASA’s Apollo capsule returning from the moon full of “candy wrappers and old Tang jars,” informed that vision.

Without a narrative he was burning to tell, Lucas had trouble turning such notions into a workable screenplay. He wrote multiple, overlong drafts that each radically refigured its characters, arcs, and themes. Eventually, he arrived at a relatively straightforward tale modeled on ancient legends. Lucas had been reading the work of Joseph Campbell, a literary scholar who identified a “monomyth,” with a predictable structure, occurring across cultures throughout the centuries. Star Wars would be a Chosen One story; Luke Skywalker was like King Arthur or Siddhartha Gautama. This blueprint, with its prescribed wise-mentor figures, talismanic weapons, and trusty sidekicks, helped make the mess of a script gel.

Lucas’s reverse-engineered fairy tale resonated with audiences, but Star Wars aficionados tend to overrate plot when explaining his success; books have been written about the profundity of Luke’s search for identity. In the new oral history, the critic Roy Morton articulates conventional wisdom when he argues that Lucas’s “most significant creative decision in crafting the script” was to draw from myths. Disney’s chief Star Wars executive, Kathleen Kennedy, says that “what was really important to [Lucas]—and certainly important to me—was story.” Whenever Star Wars films have faltered with audiences, commentators have blamed shoddy storytelling: the needless complexity of Lucas’s prequels, the inconsistent logic of Disney’s sequels.

Yet the hero’s journey in the original movies was always sketchy. The opening 15 minutes of A New Hope feature strikingly few recognizable human characters, and Luke Skywalker is usually the least interesting thing in any scene that follows. A lot of the film’s suspense derives more from wondering what the movie’s about—the touristic curiosity of “Where is this going?”—than from tracking clues to how Luke will fulfill his destiny. Secrets of the Force documents that the trilogy’s iconic twists, which would seem key to choreographing a monomyth, nearly weren’t filmed. In the shooting script for A New Hope, the mentor figure, Obi-Wan Kenobi, survives to the end rather than dying midway through. Some drafts of the second film, The Empire Strikes Back, don’t indicate that the evil Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Glorious though such surprises are, Lucas’s work wasn’t driven by them.

In fact, the story crescendos are compelling because they double as world-building. Learning who Darth Vader really is raises a host of tantalizing questions about the history of the galaxy (not least, how does someone become Darth Vader?). Kenobi’s early-movie references to mysterious concepts such as “the dark times”—exposition left unfinished once he dies—also spark rich intrigue. “Lucas makes movies that are intentionally designed to have holes in them that need to be filled later,” the producer Brian Volk-Weiss says in the oral history. He’s right except for one thing: Do they need to be filled in? Many a mediocre Star Wars product has arisen from trying to define every entry in the galactic glossary. The original films work precisely because of the holes.

They also work because Lucas, as a filmmaker, was fastidious about blending novelty with naturalism. Directing the initial movie, he insisted that the sets be streaked with scum and scorch marks. He spliced together footage of World War II dogfights and then invented special effects to make space battles look like those dogfights. When the time came to shoot, Mark Hamill (who plays Luke) first delivered his lines with campy panache—but Lucas encouraged him to be more low-key. “These actors believed the world they were in,” Liam Neeson, a star of 1999’s The Phantom Menace, says in Secrets of the Force. “Mark Hamill jumps into his speeder and—phooph!—he’s off … To them, it was everyday stuff.”

Such far-out realism has rarely been achieved since then. In the dreary prequels, Lucas went overboard with then-novel computer-generated imagery, losing the lived-in feel he’d once prized. The Disney sequels are too frantically paced—and too packed with winks to old Star Wars films—for viewers to settle in with the new sets, creatures, and costumes. Both of those later trilogies told strenuously mythic stories: The prequels followed the tragic transformation of a hero into a villain, and the Disney movies amounted to another Chosen One tale. The flaws of their scripts have been rightly scrutinized, but fixing those flaws would not solve the more fundamental failures of execution. When Star Wars is bad, its galaxy feels like a thing on a screen—not a place you can go.

The world of The Mandalorian, thankfully, is sturdy, like well-worn concrete. The hero flies a rickety spaceship modeled on a ’70s warplane. Baby Yoda’s twitching puppet ears convey the expressive range of actual toddlers. Most important, the showrunner, Jon Favreau, has absorbed the take-your-time, exploratory ethos of Lucas’s first trilogy. One early episode spends 10 dialogue-free minutes following the Mandalorian as he tries to survive on an arid planet. Two episodes later, the Mandalorian arrives in a forested village where locals harvest bioluminescent krill from ponds. He doesn’t just save the village from a hostile tribe’s attacks. He moves in to live the Star Wars simple life for a few weeks.

Such wanderings do have a mythic quality. The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda are an odd couple: protector and charge, father and son, man and beast. There is also a running plot, involving a black-armored arch-villain, that fulfills the demands of modern blockbusters to set up future spin-offs (10 other Star Wars TV shows were announced in December). When the second season culminated in a CGI-assisted cameo from the original-trilogy cast, some critics fretted that the show was about to devolve into Hollywood hackery. But thus far, archetypal storytelling and serialized intrigue—ingredients often misused in franchise-driven entertainment—have mainly just anchored Favreau’s careful creative riffing. If the miracle of The Mandalorian continues, viewers of future seasons will only rarely notice an overdetermined hand of fate guiding the action. They’ll instead continue to be caught up in individual moments.

To cheer for a Hollywood product that emphasizes look and feel rather than story and character may sound superficial. But in life, aesthetics are not incidental. The dents on a vehicle tell a story. So does the glint in a stranger’s eyes. Tidy plots are scarce, and populations do not readily divide into Chosen Ones and Unchosen Ones. Star Wars has proved that mass entertainment can wake us up to such realities. My favorite of the many arcs in The Mandalorian involves a froglike creature carrying her unhatched eggs to another planet. Because the alien doesn’t speak his language, the Mandalorian treats her coldly—until she commandeers a droid’s translation system and delivers a desperate plea for help. Watching that scene jangled my empathy so much that I began to look even at subway rats with a sense of wonder. They are characters in this galaxy too.


This article appears in the July/August 2021 print edition with the headline “A New Hope for Star Wars.”

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Bobby Bones Marries Caitlin Parker in Intimate At-Home Ceremony: See the Wedding Photos

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Bobby Bones Marries Caitlin Parker in Intimate At-Home Ceremony: See the Wedding Photos

Bobby Bones and Caitlin Parker are married!

The radio host, Breaking Bobby Bones star and American Idol mentor and Parker tied the knot at their Nashville-area home on Saturday evening — and PEOPLE has all the exclusive details.

“We love home. We picked this place out together — that was really one of the first decisions that we made as a couple. And so she thought, ‘What if we got married here?'” Bones, 41, tells PEOPLE.

Adds Parker, 29, “It was such a big gesture for Bobby to want to get a home for us both, that had some of my touches. We got to start fresh. For me, it really wasn’t even a question. It was just — if we’re getting married in Nashville, we’re getting married at the house.”

With the help of Ninth & Everett owner and planner Josiah Carr, the couple’s backyard was transformed into the wedding venue of their dreams. Blooms from Stella Rose Floral were everywhere while a “C + B” from Alpha-Lit Nashville lit up the area. Additionally, string quartet Long live La Strings played while floating in Bones and Parker’s pool during the cocktail hour.

“Josiah has just been the best — not only planning, but also being a bit of a therapist at times for different reasons,” Bones says. “Honestly, I didn’t know the value of a wedding planner. I thought they hired a couple of people, you ate your cake and you called it a day. But he has been so great and helpful and giving in ways that I never expected him to be.”

Bobby Bones Wedding

Bobby Bones Wedding

Charla Storey Bobby Bones and Caitlin Parker

RELATED: Bobby Bones and Caitlin Parker Prep for Their Own Summer Nuptials – by Attending a Bunch of Weddings

Bones and Parker planned to forgo a first look ahead of the ceremony — “I will not see her until she’s walking down the aisle,” he tells PEOPLE — but both were looking forward to the other’s appearance as the wedding march began.

Parker was also awaiting the moment her father would hand her off to her fiancé. “I am so close with my dad and he’s just the perfect example of what a man should be to his wife and his daughters,” she says. “His blessing means a lot to me. And I just like the idea of being passed over from my favorite man in the world to my new favorite man in the world.”

After the groomsmen — including retired tennis pro Andy Roddick — walked in to The Office theme song, the couple’s two dogs, Stanley and Eller, also made their way down the aisle in bow ties and pearls — though days before the ceremony, Bones was unsure if the rambunctious pups would be able to “pull it off.” He joked, “We’re rooting for them, but it’ll be a game-time decision.”

RELATED: Bobby Bones’ Dogs Will ‘Have a Spot’ in the Wedding Depending ‘How Their Training Goes’

Bones and Parker, who wrote their own vows, were married by her childhood music minister, Jeff Elkins. “I don’t have a godfather, but if I did, it would be him,” Parker says of Elkins, who’s also her childhood best friend’s dad. “He was the only option.”

For their wedding, Bones wore a custom suit with bow tie by Alton Lane, preferring to “blend in” with a classic look so Parker could “come down and own the show” in her Galia Lahav gown.

Parker found the perfect piece at The Dress Theory Nashville much quicker than she initially expected.

“It was probably the third dress that I tried on, and I knew it immediately. I had five girls [including bridesmaids Abby Smyers and Bobby Bones Show personality Amy Brown] with me and three of them started crying! It was the absolute opposite of what I thought that I wanted from the start — completely different,” she tells PEOPLE. “Bobby’s very superstitious about it. He doesn’t even want me to say the word ‘dress.’ He won’t look at my phone — he’s afraid a picture will pop up. He won’t go into the closet where it’s hanging, even though you can’t see it.”

Parker finished her bridal look with hair by Sarah Klein and makeup by Marz Collins.

RELATED: Bobby Bones Says Falling for Fiancée Caitlin Parker Was ‘One of the Best Things’ to Happen to Him

Following the ceremony, guests — including country stars Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen, Chuck Wicks and radio personality Charlamagne Tha God — enjoyed a cocktail hour with apps passed on marble trays in the shape of Bones and Parker’s home states of Arkansas and Oklahoma while listening to the floating quartet White Door Events set up in the couple’s pool.

The party then moved into a tent on the property for dinner and dancing, where the pair were officially introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Estell. Pals Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney of Dan + Shay then took the stage to sing Bones and Parker’s first dance song — the Jesse and the Rippers version of The Beach Boys’ “Forever” from Full House.

Bobby Bones Wedding

Bobby Bones Wedding

Charla Storey Caitlin Parker and Bobby Bones

Other industry friends provided additional entertainment, as Gary LeVox serenaded the crowd with Rascal Flatts‘ hits “Bless the Broken Road” and “Fast Cars and Freedom” while Ronnie Dunn performed the Brooks & Dunn classic “Neon Moon” as a light-up moon was lowered from the ceiling as a surprise for the newlyweds.

Bones tells PEOPLE he was especially looking forward to the dances — both the first and last. “I know I won’t cry then,” he says of the Dan + Shay performance, but if a few tears sneak out, “I can just hide on her shoulder.” The pair planned to share a private moment at the end of the night as well. “We’re going to do a last dance when everybody’s gone,” Bones explains. “I look forward to that with no pressure.”

Bubbles & Brews Nashville provided champagne and craft beer, while Beyond Details catered the event, serving steak, crab cakes, mashed potatoes and vegetables, while Cakes + Co provided sweet treats, including Bones’ favorite Funfetti cookie dough cake that he previously had for his birthday. “They’ll be very full when they leave here,” Bones jokes of his guests.

But the couple was most excited about the evening’s send-off — a Sonic Drive-In pop-up serving everything from “put a ring on it” onion rings to Nashville hot chicken sliders to the couple’s personal concoction, the Bobby Water. (Despite the name, the drink — which features water, strawberries, cherries and Nerds — was Parker’s creation. “Bobby went on air the next day and was like, ‘So I invented this crazy thing at Sonic.’ And I caught wind of it and was furious!” she recalls with a laugh. “That might be the biggest fight we’ve ever had.”)

Bones and Parker consider the Sonic snacks the “most personal part of the night” because it reminds them of the early days of their relationship when they were figuring out their feelings for each other.

“When she was coming from Los Angeles to Nashville and I would pick her up at the airport, I would go by Sonic and get her drinks first,” Bones explains of the first few months of dating long-distance in 2019. “It was like, ‘Hey, you just flew for five hours. This is an odd thing I’m doing because I’m trying to show you how much I care about you, but I don’t really know how to express human emotions.’ So to have that as a big part of our wedding means a lot to us. It wasn’t some sort of product placement. We actually pursued them and were like, ‘Is there any way you will do this here?’ And they went above and beyond.”

After meeting through mutual friends on the West Coast, the couple dated for a few months before the pandemic hit in March 2020. Parker, who was living in California at the time, decided to travel to Tennessee to ride things out. “I came with a mindset of, ‘I’m going stay for about a week because L.A. is shut down and Nashville isn’t.’ It was just, ‘I’d rather be with my boyfriend locked in the house than by myself in L.A. locked in the house,’ so that part was easy. It was months later when I was about to graduate grad school where we had to really think about if I was going to officially make the move or continue long-distance.”

For his part, Bones “was mostly just trying to convince her to be here. I wanted her to stay the whole time. When it was time to have those conversations, I didn’t want to because I didn’t want her to even think about going back.”

Bobby Bones Wedding

Bobby Bones Wedding

Bobby Bones Wedding Caitlin Parker and Bobby Bones

RELATED: Bobby Bones Says Girlfriend Caitlin Parker Is a ‘Champ’ for Putting Up with Him in Self-Isolation

By the summer, Parker had decided to stay in Nashville. “When she finally agreed to move here, I just knew I was going to propose,” Bones tells PEOPLE.

He continues, “I knew immediately that it was extremely different, even from the start. Early on, it was like, ‘I really needed to treat this delicately and invest my time and my capabilities because this is going to be for a long time.’ I wasn’t freaked out and that’s how I knew it was right. I never once went, ‘Oh God, what’s happening here?’ Mostly I was like, ‘Maybe this is what people are talking about, when you watch movies and read books.’ That’s how I knew she was the one — because I wasn’t freaking out.”

Bones proposed to Parker in the barn on their property last October, soon after they’d moved from his bachelor pad where they’d quarantined together. Parker knew accepting was the right decision.

“I had conversations with my mom growing up about when you fall in love with that right person and how you know,” she recalls. “And she always told me that it’s just not hard. You will go through a lot of things together as a couple, but that the relationship itself shouldn’t be hard. That it feels like a sense of peace washing over you. And with Bobby, that’s how it’s always been. When I’m with him, there’s such a strong sense of peace about us no matter what it is we’re going through that day. I just know he’s the one for me.”

Bobby Bones

Bobby Bones

Hannah Hall Caitlin Parker and Bobby Bones

RELATED: Bobby Bones Engaged to Girlfriend Caitlin Parker: ‘I Get to Marry the Love of My Life’

Of course, not everything’s perfect — Parker wishes Bones would stop biting his fingernails and learn how to soak a plate (“I don’t even need you to do the dish; just put water on it before you let it crust over in the sink!”), while Bones is irritated that Parker’s “better than him” at just about everything, including time management. But he admits he needs to hear it.

“She’s the first person that actually tells me, ‘No’ or ‘You don’t need to spiral this way.’ And I’ve listened — probably not as much as she likes— but I’ve never listened, honestly ever. I get so annoyed by being told what to do, but this is actually, ‘Hey, let me help you get a little more balanced.’ I’m getting better because I see it’s for my own good.”

Bones grows introspective. “I’ve just been so alone, by myself, independent. I’m finally starting to have substance in my life. She’s constantly trying to convince me that my life is more than just what I do for a living and trying to show me that my worth is more than just what I put out on TV or on the radio,” he says. “I haven’t been much of a human. I’ve been very much a robot for all of my life until now, but I can feel small cracks in that really unhealthy frame that I used to live inside of. I’m learning.”

Bobby Bones

Bobby Bones

Hannah Hall Bobby Bones and Caitlin Parker

As talk turns to the future, both Parker and Bones say they hope to have children — and develop their own family traditions.

“We want kids. I never really had a family growing up,” Bones tells PEOPLE of his childhood burdened by poverty, an absent father and a mother (now deceased) who abused drugs and alcohol. “It’s also a growing process for me to be a better, more well-rounded human. I’m looking forward to that.”

Adds Parker: “My family is really big on traditions. Christmas Eve, we do the same thing every year, and we always go on a family vacation. I really look forward to continuing some of those with him, but also starting our own.”

But first, the honeymoon. “There’s a little motel about a mile from the house, so we’re going to go stay for a day,” Bones initially jokes, before confirming he will in fact be enjoying a brief break. “I’ve never taken two weeks off of work!”

The Breaking Bobby Bones season finale airs Sunday night at 10/9 CT on Nat Geo. For more from Bobby Bones and Caitlin Parker’s wedding, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.

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AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Announces Outstanding Share Count Ahead of July 29, 2021 Shareholder Meeting

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AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Announces Outstanding Share Count Ahead of July 29, 2021 Shareholder Meeting

LEAWOOD, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fulfilling a commitment to release share count data, AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AMC) (“AMC” or “the Company”) is today providing the following information:

  • There were 501,780,240 AMC shares outstanding as of June 2, 2021, the record date for the Shareholder Meeting that is scheduled for July 29, 2021.

  • Only the holders of these shares whose trades have settled as of June 2, 2021 are entitled to vote at the Shareholder Meeting. Trading or other transactions relating to the shares, such as share borrowing, derivatives (including options contracts) or short selling, do not impact the number of shares entitled to vote at the Shareholder Meeting.

  • Advance voting for the Annual Shareholder meeting is expected to begin on June 16 and will continue through July 28. The details of proposals up for a vote and procedures for voting will be available in AMC’s proxy statement, a preliminary version of which is being filed today, with the definitive proxy statement expected to be filed on June 16. Shortly thereafter, the proxy and voting materials will be mailed or emailed to individual investors known to AMC, and to brokerage firms holding shares on behalf of investors in street name. Such investors are encouraged to reach out to their brokers in the latter part of June or early in July if proxy materials have not yet been forwarded to them by their brokers.

  • The share count presented above includes those shares held by both domestic and international investors. AMC has been informed that certain international brokerage houses may restrict international investors’ ability to cast their votes. Affected international investors may wish to seek out other brokers who do facilitate shareholder voting for future elections.

  • AMC expects to receive an approximate count of the number of individual shareholders whose trades have settled as of June 2 and will release this information as soon as it is available, which is currently anticipated to be no later than June 9.

  • The Company does not record or have access to information regarding any share lending or short selling transactions other than what is publicly available from third party providers.

  • AMC has received a number of inquiries regarding so-called synthetic shares and fake shares. AMC has no reliable information about this, therefore we can make no comment in this regard. AMC only maintains records regarding the shares it has legally issued and which are outstanding.

  • The Company has received a number of inquiries regarding speculation about a potential split or reverse split of our stock. A stock split or reverse stock split is not a capital raising transaction and therefore does not achieve the aims of bolstering our liquidity or providing proceeds for other transactions. AMC has no plans to propose or take any actions regarding a stock split or reverse stock split, and in any event such actions would require shareholder approval.

  • AMC understands that there is considerable trading in derivatives on the Company’s stock including both put and call options. These derivative securities can have the effect of increasing the volatility of AMC’s share price, and while they can be structured to replicate the economics of owning or short selling real AMC shares, they carry no voting rights.

About AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.

AMC is the largest movie exhibition company in the United States, the largest in Europe and the largest throughout the world with approximately 950 theatres and 10,500 screens across the globe. AMC has propelled innovation in the exhibition industry by: deploying its Signature power-recliner seats; delivering enhanced food and beverage choices; generating greater guest engagement through its loyalty and subscription programs, web site and mobile apps; offering premium large format experiences and playing a wide variety of content including the latest Hollywood releases and independent programming. For more information, visit www.amctheatres.com.

Website Information

This press release, along with other news about AMC, is available at www.amctheatres.com. We routinely post information that may be important to investors in the Investor Relations section of our website, www.investor.amctheatres.com. We use this website as a means of disclosing material, non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD, and we encourage investors to consult that section of our website regularly for important information about AMC. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our website is not incorporated by reference into, and is not a part of, this document. Investors interested in automatically receiving news and information when posted to our website can also visit www.investor.amctheatres.com to sign up for email alerts.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

This communication may be deemed solicitation material in respect of the Annual Meeting of stockholders (the “Annual Meeting”) of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (“AMC” or the “Company”). This communication does not constitute a solicitation of any vote or approval. In connection with the Annual Meeting, the Company plans to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and mail or otherwise provide to its stockholders a proxy statement regarding the business to be conducted at the Annual Meeting. The Company may also file other documents with the SEC regarding the business to be conducted at the Annual Meeting. This document is not a substitute for the proxy statement or any other document that may be filed by the Company with the SEC.

BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING DECISION, THE COMPANY’S STOCKHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE AND ANY OTHER DOCUMENTS FILED BY THE COMPANY WITH THE SEC IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING OR INVESTMENT DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE BUSINESS TO BE CONDUCTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETING.

Stockholders may obtain a free copy of the proxy statement and other documents the Company files with the SEC (when available) through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. The Company makes available free of charge on its investor relations website at www.investor.amctheatres.com copies of materials it files with, or furnishes to, the SEC.

Participants in the Solicitation

The Company and its directors, executive officers and certain employees and other persons may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from the Company’s stockholders in connection with the business to be conducted at the Annual Meeting. Security holders may obtain information regarding the names, affiliations and interests of the Company’s directors and executive officers in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020, which was filed with the SEC on March 12, 2021 (the “2021 Form 10-K”). To the extent the holdings of the Company’s securities by the Company’s directors and executive officers have changed since the amounts set forth in the Company’s 2021 Form 10-K, such changes have been or will be reflected on Statements of Change in Ownership on Form 4 filed with the SEC.

Forward Looking Statements

This communication includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. In many cases, these forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as “will,” “may,” “could,” “would,” “should,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “indicates,” “projects,” “goals,” “objectives,” “targets,” “predicts,” “plans,” “seeks,” and variations of these words and similar expressions. Examples of forward-looking statements include statements we make regarding the impact of COVID-19, future attendance levels and our liquidity. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. These forward-looking statements may include, among other things, statements related to AMC’s current expectations regarding the performance of its business, financial results, liquidity and capital resources, and the impact to its business and financial condition of, and measures being taken in response to, the COVID-19 virus, and are based on information available at the time the statements are made and/or management’s good faith belief as of that time with respect to future events, and are subject to risks, trends, uncertainties and other facts that could cause actual performance or results to differ materially from those expressed in or suggested by the forward-looking statements. These risks, trends, uncertainties and facts include, but are not limited to, risks related to: AMC’s ability to obtain additional liquidity, which if not realized or insufficient to generate the material amounts of additional liquidity that will be required unless it is able to achieve more normalized levels of operating revenues, likely would result in AMC seeking an in-court or out-of-court restructuring of its liabilities; the potential impact of AMC’s existing or potential lease defaults; the impact of the COVID-19 virus on AMC, the motion picture exhibition industry, and the economy in general, including AMC’s response to the COVID-19 virus related to suspension of operations at theatres, personnel reductions and other cost-cutting measures and measures to maintain necessary liquidity and increases in expenses relating to precautionary measures at AMC’s facilities to protect the health and well-being of AMC’s customers and employees; AMC’s significant indebtedness, including its borrowing capacity and its ability to meet its financial maintenance and other covenants; the manner, timing and amount of benefit AMC receives under the CARES Act or other applicable governmental benefits and support; the impact of impairment losses; motion picture production and performance; AMC’s lack of control over distributors of films; intense competition in the geographic areas in which AMC operates; increased use of alternative film delivery methods or other forms of entertainment; shrinking exclusive theatrical release window; AMC Stubs A-List not meeting anticipated revenue projections; general and international economic, political, regulatory and other risks; limitations on the availability of capital; AMC’s ability to refinance its indebtedness on favorable terms; availability of financing upon favorable terms or at all; risks relating to impairment losses, including with respect to goodwill and other intangibles, and theatre and other closure charges; and other factors discussed in the reports AMC has filed with the SEC. Should one or more of these risks, trends, uncertainties or facts materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those indicated or anticipated by the forward-looking statements contained herein. Accordingly, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Forward-looking statements should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results and will not necessarily be accurate indications of the times at, or by, which such performance or results will be achieved. For a detailed discussion of risks, trends and uncertainties facing AMC, see the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Company’s 2021 Form 10-K filed with the SEC, and the risks, trends and uncertainties identified in its other public filings. AMC does not intend, and undertakes no duty, to update any information contained herein to reflect future events or circumstances, except as required by applicable law.

Category: Company Release

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FieldhouseUSA Opens at Polaris Fashion Place® Bringing a Major Sports Entertainment Complex to Central Ohio

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FieldhouseUSA Opens at Polaris Fashion Place® Bringing a Major Sports Entertainment Complex to Central Ohio

Washington Prime Group Inc. (NYSE: WPG) today announced that FieldhouseUSA recently opened its state-of-the-art 90,000 SF complex at Polaris Fashion Place®. A community based, multi-purpose indoor facility that offers a variety of sporting activities, and skill levels, where everyone has a place to play. FieldhouseUSA provides an experience of a lifetime for all who enter.

FieldhouseUSA Columbus features:

  • Year-round play in team sports such as basketball and volleyball;

  • Eight hardwood volleyball courts, which can be converted to five basketball courts, powered by Mintonette Sports and offering year-round leagues, training programs, camps and more;

  • Year-round cheer and tumble programs;

  • Airhouse Adventure Park featuring trampolines, dodgeball, active play, and climbing elements;

  • Youth programs, all-sports camps, and lock-ins;

  • Program and conference space;

  • Birthday parties and corporate events;

  • Wrap around spectator bar seating with electrical outlets throughout;

  • Spacious parking, and

  • Easy access to shopping, dining, and entertainment at Polaris Fashion Place.

Lou Conforti, CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group stated: “As you all know, I tend to become really excited when a new tenant partner becomes part of the Washington Prime Group family. Just imagine my ecstatic exuberance when a world class athletic venue focusing upon team-oriented sporting events and tournaments (and a whole lot more) catering to all ages opens for business within one of our assets.”

“Furthermore, and at the risk of needing a cold shower to reduce my escalating body temperature, what if I were to tell you this location is estimated to attract ~1.5M guests (not a typo) per annum,” Conforti added. “I am truly thrilled to welcome FieldhouseUSA to Columbus and it’s not only because they provide a differentiated and dynamic complement which is symbiotic to Polaris Fashion Place’s existing tenancy. They also have a senior management team which is comprised of consummate professionals and who, by the way, are some of the finest folks I’ve ever met.”

FieldhouseUSA Columbus hosts a wide range of events and tournaments, which cater to the select, club and recreational teams across the U.S. These tournament series generate sales tax dollars annually and will have a major economic impact for Columbus and surrounding areas. FieldhouseUSA Columbus looks to average over 1.5M visitors annually and is geared for both recreational and competitive athletes. FieldhouseUSA Columbus is expected to draw a significant increase in annual visitors, benefitting existing tenants and generating strong future leasing demand for both retail and mixed uses at Polaris Fashion Place.

“We are pleased to bring this incredible opportunity to both Polaris Fashion Place, as well as the neighboring communities. Residents will enjoy an exceptional multi-purpose indoor sports adventure EXPERIENCE and all of the amenities and privileges of a state-of the-art facility,” comments Gary L. Oliver, a Principal and CEO of FieldhouseUSA. “We want to thank our partner Washington Prime Group once again and those involved in bringing this facility to life and on behalf of my partners, Terry Casey, John Vines and Adam Bishop we look forward to serving the Columbus community for many years to come.”

Oliver added, “We are extremely pleased to add Mintonette Sports to our team as a permanent partner inside the Columbus Fieldhouse facility as they bring an instant following in the Columbus market with a 24-year track record in youth sports.” Along with other FieldhouseUSA partners Mintonette Sports will host a variety of events throughout the year, including tournaments, leagues, training programs, camps, practices and other hard-court programs.

FieldhouseUSA will also provide other amenities inside the Polaris location including a cheer and tumble program, a child development training center focused on mental, physical & character development for ages walking through 18 years old as well as the Airhouse Adventure Park featuring more than 30,000 SF of trampolines, Xtreme Dodgeball, Battle Beam, Log Roll, Bouldering Wall, Racing Zipline, Valo Jump, Basketball, Aero Strike, Wipeout, Ninja Course, Soft Play, and numerous Climbing Elements. In the continued need to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Airhouse Adventure Park will have a delayed opening and is expected to welcome guests in the summer of 2021.

Todd Christian, Director of Operations of Airhouse commented: “Airhouse Adventure Park is wAIR your next great adventure begins. I am excited to engage this great community of Columbus, Ohio and its surrounding cities in a fun, safe and sanitized adventure park. We look forward to bringing your friends and family together to celebrate birthdays or other fun occasions with us in one of our party rooms. I am eager to get involved with the local schools and communities, to bring them into our adventure park for some of our fun and friendly activities such as our Ropes Course, Ninja Course and my favorite, Xtreme Dodgeball. I am confident that our beautiful Columbus location will provide more than just an indoor adventure park for everyone to enjoy year-round, but also great memories to share for years to come. I see a great future for Airhouse Adventure Park as we aim to build more locations, bring employment to more cities around the U.S., and strengthen our communities one location at a time.”

Polaris Fashion Place and FieldhouseUSA remain focused on providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. FieldhouseUSA will operate in accordance with CDC guidelines and federal, state and local regulations, recommendations and mandates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. FieldhouseUSA’s rigorous disinfectant and cleaning practices will continue many times per day, including periodically disinfecting areas most susceptible to the spread of germs.

The addition of FieldhouseUSA demonstrates Washington Prime Group’s commitment to the community while illustrating its mandate to diversify tenancy and further solidify the lifestyle center as dominant hybrid town centers offering a dynamic mix of retail, dining, entertainment, sports and wellness options. Investments and improvements made at Polaris Fashion Place provide numerous benefits to the Columbus, Ohio area.

About FieldhouseUSA

FieldhouseUSA has developed and currently operates three facilities, with two more currently under construction. FieldhouseUSA is a multi-purpose indoor facility that offers a variety of sporting activities, and skill levels, where everyone has a place to play while creating an amazing EXPERIENCE for ALL that enter the FieldhouseUSA doors! Learn more at https://fieldhouseusa.com/.

About Washington Prime Group

Washington Prime Group Inc. is a retail REIT and a recognized leader in the ownership, management, acquisition and development of retail properties. The Company combines a national real estate portfolio with its expertise across the entire shopping center sector to increase cash flow through rigorous management of assets and provide new opportunities to retailers looking for growth throughout the U.S. Washington Prime Group® and Polaris Fashion Place® are registered trademarks of the Company. Learn more at www.washingtonprime.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 which represent the current expectations and beliefs of management of Washington Prime Group Inc. (“WPG”) concerning the proposed transactions, the anticipated consequences and benefits of the transactions and the targeted close date for the transactions, and other future events and their potential effects on WPG, including, but not limited to, statements relating to anticipated financial and operating results, the Company’s plans, objectives, expectations and intentions, cost savings and other statements, including words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “confident,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “will,” “should,” “may,” and other similar expressions. Such statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of WPG’s management, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance, or achievements of WPG to be materially different from future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, without limitation; the Company has determined that there is substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern; there is no assurance that the Company will be able to reach an agreement in principle regarding a restructuring, comply with the terms of any such agreement or successfully complete a restructuring contemplated thereby, creating substantial doubt about WPG’s ability to continue as a going concern; the Company may seek the protection of a bankruptcy court, which would subject it to the risks and uncertainties associated with bankruptcy and may harm the Company’s business and place its equity holders at significant risk of losing all of their investment in the Company; the Company’s limited liquidity could materially and adversely affect its business operations; changes in asset quality and credit risk; ability to sustain revenue and earnings growth; changes in political, economic or market conditions generally and the real estate and capital markets specifically; the impact of increased competition; the availability of capital and financing; tenant or joint venture partner(s) bankruptcies; the failure to increase store occupancy and same-store operating income; risks associated with the acquisition, disposition, (re)development, expansion, leasing and management of properties; changes in market rental rates; trends in the retail industry; relationships with anchor tenants; risks relating to joint venture properties; costs of common area maintenance; competitive market forces; the level and volatility of interest rates; the rate of revenue increases as compared to expense increases; the financial stability of tenants within the retail industry; the restrictions in current financing arrangements or the failure to comply with such arrangements; the liquidity of real estate investments; the impact of changes to tax legislation and WPG’s tax positions; losses associated with closures, failures and stoppages associated with the spread and proliferation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; to qualify as a real estate investment trust; the failure to refinance debt at favorable terms and conditions; loss of key personnel; material changes in the dividend rates on securities or the ability to pay dividends on common shares or other securities; possible restrictions on the ability to operate or dispose of any partially-owned properties; the failure to achieve earnings/funds from operations targets or estimates; the failure to achieve projected returns or yields on (re)development and investment properties (including joint ventures); expected gains on debt extinguishment; changes in generally accepted accounting principles or interpretations thereof; terrorist activities and international hostilities; the unfavorable resolution of legal or regulatory proceedings; the impact of future acquisitions and divestitures; assets that may be subject to impairment charges; significant costs related to environmental issues; changes in LIBOR reporting practices or the method in which LIBOR is determined; and other risks and uncertainties, including those detailed from time to time in WPG’s statements and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those described under “Risk Factors”. The forward-looking statements in this communication are qualified by these risk factors. Each statement speaks only as of the date of this press release and WPG undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, subsequent events or circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from current projections, expectations, and plans, if any. Investors, potential investors and others should give careful consideration to these risks and uncertainties.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210603005119/en/

Contacts

Investors: Investor.Relations@washingtonprime.com
Media: Media.Relations@washingtonprime.com

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