Missouri Minute: AMC strikes deal with Universal; state designated as virus ‘red zone’

Good morning, MBA readers,

A federal coronavirus task force has added Missouri to the highest warning category for COVID-19 cases now that there are 131 cases per 100,000 people in the state. While that is still far below states such as Florida, which has more than 300 cases per 100,000 people, the task force has designated Missouri as a “red zone.” The state has seen new highs for single-day case increases 10 times in July, with Wednesday bringing 1,927 new cases, another record. As the state continues to contend with the coronavirus, one area company that has been hit especially hard by the pandemic announced a big shift in the way it does business. AMC Theatres, based in the Kansas City area, struck a deal with film studio Universal that reduces the exclusivity window for theatrical releases from three months to less than three weeks. Now, just 17 days after they are released, Universal films will be available online — and AMC will get a cut of that revenue. Elsewhere in the business of entertainment and leisure, some companies are looking ahead to post-COVID-19 development. A Florida-based resort company announced it will invest $300 million in a new property, which will include an indoor water park, a convention center and hundreds of hotel rooms, just outside of Branson. The developer hopes to open the property in 2023.

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AMC strikes deal with Universal, shortens theatrical release window 
The two companies have knocked heads after Universal Filmed Entertainment Group looked to release films online following the onset of the pandemic, threatening theaters’ ability to show new movies exclusively. They have now agreed to a deal decreasing the exclusive theatrical release window for Universal films from 90 days to just 17 days. After that, the films will be available via on-demand platforms, with AMC getting a cut of that revenue. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC-area hospitals to administer COVID-19 vaccine trial 
The University of Kansas Medical Center and Children’s Mercy will conduct regional trials of a vaccine developed by Oxford University. The trial will involve 30,000 participants, including 1,500 from Missouri and Kansas. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Developer reveals plans for new resort in Hollister
Florida-based Imagine Resorts and Hotels unveiled a $300 million project near Branson projected to create 450 jobs. The property, which would include an indoor water park, 450 guest rooms and cabins, entertainment space, a convention center and spa areas, is slated to open in 2023. (Springfield Business Journal)

Missouri travelers to Chicago must quarantine for 14 days
City officials said travelers from Missouri and 21 other states states will face fines if they don’t quarantine. Governments elsewhere, including New York and New Jersey, also have ordered quarantines for people coming from Missouri. (WDAF)

Branson passes mask order, effective Friday
The Branson Board of Aldermen passed the mandate in a 4-1 vote. Some business owners have voiced concerns that the order will discourage tourists from visiting. (Kansas City Star)

Jefferson County health officials decide not to vote on mask mandate
While the health department’s board of trustees strengthened recommendations to wear masks and practice social distancing, the board did not vote on a countywide mandate. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Columbia Chamber of Commerce supports Medicaid expansion
The group joined chambers of commerce in St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as the statewide chamber, in supporting Amendment 2. The measure would expand Medicaid access to an estimated 230,000 residents. (KOMU)

Buyers identified in St. Alexius Hospital bid
The entity, known as SA Hospital Acquisition Group, has offered to pay about $17 million for the bankrupt south St. Louis hospital. The group includes Lawrence Feigen, whose company owns long-term nursing facilities; Ben Klein, whose company controls several addiction treatment centers; and Jeff Ahlholm, an investment banker. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Uncommon Giving closes on $13.5 million founders round
The online giving platform, created by CrossFirst Bank founder Ron Baldwin, raised the capital from more than 80 private investors. The platform connects individual donors with nonprofits by matching interests and passions. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC Tech Council president will chair international board
Ryan Weber, who has served on the board of the Technology Councils of North America since 2013, has been named the chair of the board. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“They want 30% of the sale, and that’s practically my profit margin on a lot of my items. And I just decided I don’t want anything to do with them.”

That’s William Muirhead, owner of Lee Street Deli in Columbia, explaining why he doesn’t do business with third-party delivery services like Grubhub and DoorDash. But as cities across the country, including St. Louis, consider putting caps on the fees these companies can charge, Muirhead doesn’t agree with that approach. He and some other local restaurant owners say they have other options. Meanwhile, some local upstarts, including KnockKnock KC in the Kansas City area, are devising alternative delivery models to the one popularized by large national services.

Go figure


That’s where Missouri ranks among the 50 states in terms of highest greenhouse gas emissions per person, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study also found that affluent neighborhoods produce a disproportionate amount of emissions — sometimes generating up to 15 times more greenhouse gases than less-affluent nearby neighborhoods. The U.S. ranks fourth for global per capita emissions.

Send tweet

Posts like this one, providing pun-flavored promotion of Ruby Jean’s Juicery in Kansas City, are all over Twitter this week, marking the first Midwest Black Restaurant Week. Black Restaurant Week started in Houston back in 2016, and it has since expanded across the country. This year, four Midwest cities — Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis — are included, and about 75 restaurants in Missouri are participating. The goal of the week, which runs through Sunday, is to bring attention to African American culinary businesses.

Word to the wise

Red zone

This is the term a White House task force is using to designate areas and states with more than 100 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents. Missouri now has 131 cases per 100,000 people, so it has officially been designated a “red zone,” according to a report made public on Wednesday by The New York Times. Specific areas flagged for high case rates included Branson, Hannibal, counties around the Lake of the Ozarks, and several counties in the Bootheel, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The federal report recommended that all “red zone” areas close gyms and bars and limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.

Hello, my name is

Laura McCallister

She is the new president and CEO of Places for People, a St. Louis-based behavioral health organization, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. McCallister previously worked as vice president of finance for the organization, where she started as a social worker in 1989. She served as the CFO Committee chairperson for the Missouri Coalition of Community Behavioral Healthcare for the past two years. Places for People has more than 300 employees and serves more than 2,000 people annually.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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