AMC Theatres Swings to Quarterly Profit Without ‘Barbie’

AMC Entertainment Aug. 8 said it posted net income of $8.6 million in the second quarter, ended June 30, compared to a net loss of $121.6 million in the previous-year period. Revenue increased 15.6% to $1.35 billion from $1.17 billion in the prior-year period, the highest quarter in four years.

The world’s largest theater operator attributed the increase to a 12% growth in attendance and a 15% growth in total revenue compared to the second quarter of 2022. AMC theatres across the globe generated more than 66 million paying customers in the quarter, the highest quarterly attendance number since the fourth quarter of 2019.

And this was before the July releases of Barbie, Oppenheimer, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Sound of Freedom. The month of July was AMC’s largest revenue month in the chain’s 103-year history.

“With the first half of the year now behind us, the 2023 domestic industry box office is 20% ahead of last year, and we believe the second half of the year could be even better unless the current writers/actors strikes wind
up delaying the release of movie titles into next year,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

More importantly, Aron contends that despite the chain’s $643 million in liquidity at the end of the quarter, the exhibitor’s ability to raise capital going forward remains critical to its survival. AMC ended the quarter with a $62 million negative cash flow, meaning it spent more operating its business than it took in.

“There are real and potentially severe liquidity hurdles on the horizon that we will need to overcome,” Aron said.

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AMC Theatres CEO Spent Easter Sharing ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Social Media Posts During Record Box Office Debut

With Universal Pictures/Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie setting box office debut records through the April 9 weekend, AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron spent Easter Sunday sharing social media posts of family moviegoers frequenting AMC screens to watch the movie. AMC Entertainment is the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world.

The movie generated $378 million worldwide, the highest animated movie release ever (topping Disney’s Frozen 2 with $358 million), and No. 2 over three days in North America after Disney’s Finding Dory. The movie also broke box office record for video game adaptations, topping previous chart topper, Universal’s Warcraft at $210 million.

“Often, so much vitriol and hate on Twitter,” Aron tweeted April 9 as he shared social media posts from families attending Super Mario screenings nationwide. “But, Twitter is also filled with love. The next retweets are some of the reasons I am proud that you, AMC & I helped save moviegoing in America!”

The company later announced it saw its busiest weekend in 2023 as more than 3.6 million moviegoers watched a movie at an AMC location in the U.S. from Friday to Sunday. The strong audience turnout gave AMC its third busiest Friday to Sunday weekend since December of 2019.

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Since reopening in 2020, two of AMC’s top three revenue days occurred this past weekend, including Saturday, which was AMC’s highest revenue day in the U.S. since theaters reopened.

The weekend slate also included new Amazon Studios release Air, and holdovers Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount Pictures), and Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4.

“It’s official … the path to [theatrical] recovery continues,” Aron tweeted.

Analyst Says AMC Theatres’ Reverse-Stock Split, Improved Theatrical Slate Bodes Well For Exhibitor

AMC Entertainment shareholders March 14 approved a 1/10 reverse-stock split, reducing the number of outstanding common shares to 51.8 million from about 518 million. The world’s largest theatrical exhibitor’s controversial 930 million AMC Preferred Equity (APE) shares will convert to 93 million AMC common shares, resulting in 145 million total shares outstanding effective the date of conversion, when APE shares will no longer trade.

“I would like to commend our shareholders for the wisdom exhibited in your votes by approving these proposals, and doing so by a wide margin,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement following the vote.

AMC began issuing special APE dividends last August in an effort to attract investors to help reduce its massive $12 billion debt load — much of it accrued during the pandemic when its theater operations ground to a halt.

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Some common share holders have not approved of APEs, contending the dividends dilute their shares’ value. In February Allegheny County’s (Pa.) pension fund sued AMC, alleging that the APEs circumvented AMC common shareholders’ will to not further dilute shares. The case is set to go to trial April 27.

Going forward, AMC has the authorization to issue up to 550 million additional common shares, which could generate upwards of $11 billion, according to Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter.

“We expect AMC to continue raising cash with its equity while chipping away at its massive debt balance,” Pachter wrote in a note.

Meanwhile, the analyst is buying into Aron’s optimism regarding the 2023 theatrical slate, which began with February’s Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and features upcoming releases John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate); Universal Pictures’ The Super Mario Bros. Movie; Disney’s The Little Mermaid and Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3; Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse; Paramount Pictures’ Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts; and Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Flash, among others.

Regardless, AMC saw revenue decline 15% to $990.4 million in the most-recent fiscal period, from $1.17 billion in the prior-year period. The company’s net loss rose to $287 million, up from a loss of $134.4 million a year earlier.

AMC Theatres: 70% of ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Revenue Came From ‘Premium Experience’ Screens

AMC Theatres, the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, Dec. 19 announced that based on the strength of its premium-format screens, Avatar: The Way of Water generated ticket sales and food and beverage revenue significantly higher than during the same weekend in pre-pandemic 2019, which was led by the opening of Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level.

Tickets sold in RealD 3D and premium large formats such as Dolby Cinema at AMC, Imax at AMC, and Prime at AMC made up more than 70% of all box office gross to the movie at AMC Theatres.

Overseas, the movie played strong all weekend, but particularly on Dec. 17, when AMC’s Odeon Cinemas saw its highest admissions revenue and food and beverage revenue for a single day in 2022.

“We’re greatly encouraged to see our revenues soar on the opening weekend of The Way of Water,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, said in a statement. “All of us at AMC and Odeon extend our eternal thanks to [director] James Cameron for the brilliance of his vision, and to all our friends at Disney for their tireless efforts to make this remarkable and immersive film. I’ve already seen it twice this past weekend, and I can’t wait to go see it again.”

AMC Theatres Launching Branded Credit Card in 2023

AMC Entertainment Dec. 14 disclosed that it is launching a branded AMC Visa credit card next year. The world’s largest theatrical exhibitor said the card would provide its AMC Stubs loyalty members expedited savings and discounts on movie tickets and concessions.

AMC, like its competitors Regal and Cinemark, is contending with a challenged moviegoer market following the pandemic. With few blockbuster releases to exhibit, AMC is the first theatrical exhibitor to launch a branded credit card as a means of jumpstarting consumer interest while generating incremental revenue. AMC is also launching branded popcorn at the retail level in 2023.

“The AMC Entertainment Visa Card is another example of AMC’s continued dedication to providing real value to moviegoers and strengthening the relationship we have with our loyal moviegoing guests,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

Aron contends the exhibition industry is one of the few major retail sectors that hasn’t offered consumers a credit card as a way to amplify their purchase power through the use of a co-branded credit card.

“With a built-in customer base of tens of millions of existing AMC Stubs members, we know there are avid moviegoers who will benefit greatly from using their AMC Entertainment Visa Card at the movies and for their everyday purchases,” he said.

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AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron Ecstatic on Bob Iger’s Return to Disney

Apparently restored Disney CEO Bob Iger can turn back the hands of time, according to Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor.

Iger Sunday evening was unexpectedly re-named Disney CEO less than three years after retiring and handing the position to Bob Chapek.

Bob Iger and Adam Aron

For Aron, Iger’s comeback portends a return to the halcyon days of 2019 when Disney dominated the global box office with $11 billion in ticket sales. Disney did that on the backs of no less than seven of the top 10 grossing movies that year. They included Avengers: Endgame, The Lion King, Toy Story 4, Frozen II, Captain Marvel, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,and Aladdin.

“Disney is the biggest filmmaker of any movie studio,” Aron tweeted. “Bob Iger coming back to again lead Disney as its CEO is a big deal. Let me shout this from the mountain top: I have the absolute highest respect for Bob Iger.”

While few believe any studio will ever again dominate the box office like Disney did that year, the studio has three movies in the top 10 this year, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The company’s 20th Century Studios unit is expected to have another blockbuster on its hands when the long-awaited sequel Avatar: The Way of Water debuts on Dec. 16.

This is all gravy to Aron, who sees increased concession sales and ticket revenue going forward. While the news jumpstarted Disney shares, AMC Entertainment Holdings are down more than 4% in trading at the market close.

AMC posted a net loss of $226.9 million on revenue of $968.4 million in the most-recent fiscal period.

AMC Theatres Ups Q3 Fiscal Revenue, Widens Loss

AMC Entertainment Holdings Nov. 8 reported a third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) net loss of $226.9 million, which was up slightly from a loss of $224.2 million during the prior-year period. Revenue increased 27% to $968.4 million, from $763.2 million a year ago. Through nine months of the fiscal year, revenue topped $2.9 billion, up 115% from revenue of $763.2 million a year earlier.

CEO Adam Aron attributed the muddled Q3 results to a “particularly soft” industry-wide box office in the quarter.

“But encouragingly, our overall per-patron metrics for both admissions
revenue and food and beverage spending remain well above pre-pandemic levels, growing a sizable 12.0% and 30.0%, respectively, compared to the third quarter of 2019,” Aron said in a statement.

The executive, like much of Hollywood, has high hopes for the fourth quarter theatrical releases of Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which has posted advanced ticket sales surpassing expectations, as well as Strange World and Avatar: The Way of Water, among other films.

Indeed, Black Panther advance ticket sales have reportedly topped $45 million.

As the exhibition business continues to struggle, Aron said the world’s largest chain would continue to explore incremental business opportunities, which include selling branded popcorn at retail and the recently announced Zoom Rooms at AMC, affording groups the ability to connect with other large groups across the country.

“We expect to make more business development announcements in the coming weeks and months, which along with an improving movie theater sector, positions AMC Entertainment to create value for all our stakeholders,” Aron said.

AMC Theatres to Sell $1.4 Billion Worth of ‘APE Units’ in Effort to Reduce Debt

AMC Theatres, the world’s largest theatrical operator, Sept. 26 announced it plans to sell upwards of 425 million so-called “AMC Preferred Equity Units (APEs),” an alternative to common shares, to investors in an attempt to reduce its $5.4 billion debt load. The move comes as rival Regal Cinemas’ parent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the movie theater business struggles to return to pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

AMC in August first introduced APEs as a dividend gift to leery common stock shareholders who did not want CEO Adam Aron to issue millions of new stocks that would reduce the value of existing shares. AMC said the APEs provided the company with a currency that could be used in the future, among other things, to further strengthen its balance sheet, including by paying down some of its debt and other liabilities.

AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron

The market responded with a selloff of AMC shares (and APEs), which were down more than 7% in midday trading Sept. 26.

Regardless, AMC said that “from time to time” it would issue of up to a maximum of 425 million APE units. The number of units sold would reflect the total number of APEs currently authorized, less a portion held back for equity awards under existing, or if approved by stockholders, future equity incentive plans.

The plan is designed to provide significant flexibility to AMC in achieving its fiscal goals over time.

In a note, Alicia Reese with Wedbush Securities in Portland, Ore., said Aron remains a smooth negotiator with shareholders.

“It was a nice way to get around their investors, who weren’t going to let them issue more shares to raise more cash,” Reese wrote.

AMC Entertainment Narrows Q1 Losses Thanks to Superhero Movies

Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: No Way Home and Warner Bros. Pictures’ The Batman contributed to AMC Entertainment narrowing its first-quarter fiscal loss (ended March 31) to $337.4 million, compared with a net loss of $567.2 million during the previous-year period when the world’s largest exhibitor was operating at less than 50% capacity. Revenue increased to $785.7 million, compared with $148.3 million for the first quarter of 2021.

“Our results represent AMC’s strongest first quarter in two full years,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “We continue on our pandemic recovery trajectory, more than quintupling revenue and improving adjusted [pre-tax income] by nearly 80% compared to a year ago.”

Aron said the cumulative success of the aforementioned titles, along with Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog 2 drove the quarterly revenue gain.

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Indeed, global AMC attendance increased more than 39 million, from 6.8 million a year ago. U.S. theatrical attendance topped 25.8 million, from 6.2 million. International market attendance topped 13.2 million, from 558,000.
AMC operated an average of 10,099 screens in the quarter, compared with 6,724 screens a year ago.

“When Hollywood releases films that moviegoers want to see, people flock to cinemas in huge numbers to watch movies where they were designed to be seen, in theatres, on the big screen,” Aron said.

AMC Theatres Buys 22% Stake in Gold, Silver Mining Company

AMC Theatres, the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, March 15 announced it is buying 22% of Hycroft Mining Holding Corporation and its 71,000-acre gold and silver mine in northern Nevada. AMC contends the mine has some 15 million ounces of gold deposits and some 600 million ounces of silver deposit.

In times of fiscal and global uncertainty, it is believed that investment in gold and silver can be an investment lifeline — as well as an appeal to meme stock traders.

AMC chairman/CEO Adam Aron said the attraction of the investment was that it required only a “nominal amount” ($27.9 million) of AMC cash for ownership of more than 23 million shares.

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“To state the obvious, one would not normally think that a movie theatre company’s core competency includes gold or silver mining,” Aron said in a statement.

The executive contends the theatrical chain has been able to successfully navigate the COVID pandemic through its exhibition footprint a time of severe liquidity challenge, the raising of capital, and strengthening of balance sheets, as well as communicating with individual retail investors.

“It is all that experience and skill that we bring to the table to assist the talented mining professionals at Hycroft,” Aron said.

The CEO said the box office success of Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman as well as 2022’s promising theatrical slate, heighten internal convictions that the chain is on the path to fiscal recovery and on solid footing to diversify its investments.

“Our strategic investment … is the result of our having identified a company in an unrelated industry that appears to be just like AMC of a year ago,” Aron said. “Investors should think creatively and boldly about AMC’s future, because within the company, we ourselves have been thinking creatively and boldly about our future.”

In 2021, Aron was able to up AMC’s financial assets to $1.8 billion through long-term debt and stock sales. To monetize that cash, Aron said AMC has to “play on offense” to grow the company. That included adding Imax and Dolby Cinema premium screens, launching non-fungible token (NFT) marketing plans with major studios, accepting cryptocurrency to boost theatre attendance, and entering the retail popcorn sales market.

“Now, we are taking AMC’s demonstrated achievement in writing the play book as to how to navigate through liquidity challenge and applying our lessons learned to another entity in Hycroft Mining,” Aron said.