AMC Theatres Gets Serious About Music with New Hire and Listening Events for Billie Eilish Album

By J. Sperling Reich | May 15, 2024 4:16 am PDT
Billie Eilish Hit Me Hard and Soft Listening Event

AMC Theatres is set to host exclusive listening events for Billie Eilish’s highly anticipated third studio album, “Hit Me Hard and Soft,” across roughly 130 locations in the United States. The events, scheduled for 16 and 17 May will offer fans to be among the first to hear the Eilish album which will be played using Dolby Atmos spatial audio.

The listening events, presented in collaboration with Apple Music, will have some form of visual accompaniment though none of the press releases, news reports or social media posts could explain exactly what that meant. Tickets for the one-hour “album listening experience” are priced at USD $5, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the AMC Cares Charitable Fund. Based on a brief survey it seems many showings have already sold out, which isn’t exactly a surprise, since Eilish is one of the hottest musical acts in the world right now.

Eilish isn’t the first artist to use movie theatres for listening parties. On 16 April the band Pearl Jam worked with Abramorama and Republic Records to held a “one night only global theatrical experience” in 900 cinemas around the world, including AMC locations, for fans to get a first listen of their latest album, “Dark Matter.” During that event, the album was played twice in Dolby Atmos (where available); once with just the audio and once with visuals.

In March of 2020 Pearl Jam had arranged a similar cinema listening event for the launch of their album “Gigaton,” however it was canceled when movie theatres began closing due to the onset of the Covid pandemic.

Speaking of the Eilish event AMC CEO Adam Aron stated, “This is not a concert film. It’s a new album release that they have put some visuals to.” He believes these events will be financially beneficial for AMC on a per-screen basis and hopes to secure several such partnerships annually.

To that end, AMC bolstered its newly established distribution division by hiring on Stephanie Terifay as Vice President of Distribution. This strategic move comes on the heels of AMC’s successful foray into distributing concert films, including the record-breaking “Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour” and BeyoncĂ©’s “Renaissance.”

In her new role, Terifay will be responsible for working with the music industry to develop future projects and crafting distribution strategies and marketing plans to reach out to fans. Terifay joins the cinema operator from Fandango, where she led the integrated marketing team and worked closely with Hollywood studios, independent distributors, exhibitors, and brand partners. Prior to Fandango, she held positions at the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Los Angeles Clippers.

In conjunction with Terifay’s appointment, AMC has also promoted Kevin Arnold, a 13-year company veteran, to the role of Vice President of Programming Promotions & Partnerships. Arnold will oversee promotional strategies aimed at driving moviegoer engagement and boosting ticket sales.

Both Terifay and Arnold will report to Nikkole Denson-Randolph, AMC’s Senior Vice President of Content Strategy and Inclusive Programming, who oversees the company’s distribution wing.

In discussing the new additions to the distribution team, Elizabeth Frank, AMC’s Chief Content Officer, said, “The remarkable success of AMC Theatres Distribution last fall opened an exciting new business for AMC, and we are thrilled to have Stephanie Terifay’s expertise and enthusiasm build upon the brilliant leadership of Nikkole Denson-Randolph.”

J. Sperling Reich