AMC Entertainment Posts Strongest Quarter In Two Years, CEO Bullish 2022 Box Office “Could Be Nearly Double 2021”

AMC Entertainment said sales jumped and losses narrowed for the three months ended in December as the pandemic receded and Spider-Man rocked the theater chain to its best quarter in two years.

Revenue of $1.17 billion compared to $162.5 million in the year earlier period. Net losses shrank to $134.4 million, including a non-cash impairment charge related to long lived assets of $77.2 million, versus a net loss of $946 million.

“We are quite bullish that for the full calendar year of 2022 the industry box office could be nearly double that of 2021, with COVID impacts easing, with more and more major films on the docket for release, and with most major studios coalescing around an exclusive theatrical window of 45 days or more,” said CEO Adam Aron.

The shares are up nearly 4% in after-hours trade. Aron is currently on a call with investors discussing the numbers and outlook for the chain.

It’s been a volatile start of the year for so-called meme stocks like AMC. Its shares gained more than 10% in February after a tough Jan. Year-to-date it’s down more than 30%. Aron has snapped up leases on a half-dozen theaters and continues to lean into retail enthusiasm, accepting crypto as payment and expanding into non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He hired a new VP of growth strategy to oversee initiatives like selling AMC popcorn in markets, convenience stores, malls and for home delivery.

Covid had pushed indebted AMC to the brink of bankruptcy by the end of 2020 as Aron tried to raise cash, successfully, greatly aided in that by retail investors buying and holding shares and egging each other on across Reddit chatrooms and social media. They weren’t thrilled when Aron and CFO Sean Goodman sold stock for estate planning purposes recently. But AMC’s investor base remains unusual, skewed mostly to retail vs institutional holders.

Debt is still an issue, although the company easily issued $950M in senior notes last month. With that, it was able to swap out high interest debt taken out at the height of the pandemic, which Goodman said will shave $13 million in annual interest expense, extend maturities out by 3-4 years and enhance the company’s financial flexibility.

AMC last paid a dividend in March of 2020.


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