What happened 

Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) fell 7% on Tuesday, following the release of the movie theater company's first-quarter earnings release. 

So what

AMC's revenue plunged 21.6% to $941.5 million, as coronavirus-related social distancing guidelines drove it to close all of its theaters on March 17. With little revenue coming in after that time, AMC posted an adjusted net loss of $231.6 million. AMC also recorded a $1.85 billion impairment charge, as it marked down the value of many of its theaters.

Empty movie theater seats.

AMC Entertainment stock fell after its empty theaters generated large losses. Image source: Getty Images.

To stem the bleeding, AMC furloughed all of its U.S. employees and most of its global workforce. It also raised $500 million in cash from debt issuance, and it's attempting to negotiate rent deferrals with its landlords.

"We are confident we are taking the necessary steps on a broad array of fronts to ensure AMC's future success as we navigate these turbulent and uncertain times," CEO Adam Aron said in a press release.

Now what

AMC is in a dangerous position while its theaters remain closed. And even when they reopen, it's uncertain if enough people will head back to movie theaters during the pandemic. Until a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19 is found, many people may instead choose to watch movies in the safety of their own homes. That could be a big problem for AMC -- and its shareholders.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.