Beloved AMC ad changes in March

Scottie Andrew, CNN | 2/29/2024, 10:56 a.m.
Coming soon to an AMC theater near you: New Nicole Kidman ads.
Do we still come to this place (AMC) for magic? New ads for the movie theater chain starring Nicole Kidman will soon provide an answer. Mandatory Credit: From AMC Theaters/YouTube via CNN Newsource

Coming soon to an AMC theater near you: New Nicole Kidman ads.

AMC’s Oscar-winning spokeswoman will appear in three updated, 30-second versions of the original ad for the movie theater chain, which play during AMC’s pre-show. One of the new ads will debut in theaters on March 1, the company said in a statement to CNN, while the other two will enter the rotation in the coming months.

Kidman’s now-iconic ad features the Australian actress watching brief clips from movies in an empty theater, touting the “magic” of an AMC theatrical experience. The minute-long spot became a cultural phenomenon with moviegoers who recited Kidman’s monologue along with her and even dressed up as Kidman in her silver-striped pantsuit for Halloween.

In a tease of what’s to come, AMC this week shared a new version of Kidman’s familiar minute-long spot. While she’s still rocking her pantsuit in the new version, she’s no longer marveling at “La La Land” and “Jurassic World” — those films have been swapped out for slightly newer titles like “Elvis” and “Avatar: The Way of Water,” both released in 2022. And instead of praising “sound (she) can feel,” Kidman extols the power of “beautiful music, soaring through (her).”

She ends the spot with a whisper: “That’s magic,” she says to the camera.

It’s the first time since its debut that Kidman’s commercial will be modestly retooled. The original ad was released in September 2021 in a bid to get audiences to return to theaters after the Covid-19 pandemic forced many cinemas to shutter for months.

As audiences gradually returned to movie theaters, they were greeted by a sanguine Kidman, spouting theatrical dialogue that would eventually be parodied by “Saturday Night Live” and the movie studio Lionsgate. Audiences warmed to the ad, too, praising its campy yet sincere message. At least one moviegoer was pictured standing up and saluting the screen during her speech, which became an anthem for cinephiles who, too, believed that “stories feel perfect and powerful” on the big screen.

The Kidman campaign “took on a cult-like nature,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said in an earnings call on Wednesday. “It really hit in the American zeitgeist.”

AMC capitalized on its virality by releasing a line of merchandise inspired by the spot, from baby onesies emblazoned with dramatic lines from Kidman’s monologue to miniature backpacks designed to look like the actress’ dazzling pantsuit.

An update was due, however: Some audiences were beginning to tire of Kidman’s familiar speech, which played after a barrage of previews and AMC’s animated plea to silence cell phones, further delaying a movie’s start time.