AMC: 3.2 Million Moviegoers Bought Tickets Globally July 8-11 — Driven by ‘Black Widow’

AMC Theatres, the largest exhibitor in the world, July 12 announced that it once again broke its previous post-reopening weekend attendance record. For the second time in three weekends, and third time since Memorial Day weekend, AMC recorded its busiest weekend attendance numbers in the last 16 months. Approximately 3.2 million people watched movies at AMC’s domestic and international theater locations from July 8 to 11.

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The industry box office was led by Disney/Marvel’s Black Widow, which opened to an estimated $80 million for its opening weekend in North America, breaking the previous record, which was set by Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga just two weekends before. Beyond the success of Black Widow, the other nine movies in the top 10 also posted meaningful ticket sales and helped give the industry its first $100-million plus domestic box office weekend since early 2020.

Eight of the top 10 busiest theaters in the U.S. across the whole movie theater industry were AMCs. They were led by the AMC Burbank 30 complex in Burbank, Calif. AMC had more than 2.5 million U.S. moviegoers, a new post-reopening record.

Internationally, more than 650,000 people visited AMC’s theaters in Europe and the Middle East, also a post-reopening record.

AMC Theatres Posts Biggest Opening Weekend Since 2019

AMC Theatres, the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, June 28 reported it attracted its most opening-weekend moviegoers since 2019, thanks to the U.S. debut of Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga, as well as other movies also currently playing at its theaters.

AMC said about 2 million people watched movies at domestic screens from June 24 to 27. These are the biggest numbers recorded by AMC in the U.S. since closing its theaters in March of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

F9 opened to an estimated $70 million in ticket sales, shattering the previous post-reopening record. In fact, the tally is the biggest opening weekend for any movie in the U.S. since late in 2019. The total global box office for F9 exceeds $400 million.

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Six of the Top 10 busiest theaters in the U.S. across the whole movie theater industry were AMC’s. They were led by the AMC Burbank complex and Universal Cinema AMC at CityWalk Hollywood, which also were the top two movie theatre locations in the entire country.

More than 500,000 additional people visited AMC’s international theaters in Europe and the Middle East, also a post-reopening record, bringing the total global attendance at AMC’s theaters at home and abroad this past weekend to an encouraging 2.5 million.

“The big screen is back,” Adam Aron, CEO of AMC Theatres, said in a statement. “We salute our friends and partners at Universal Pictures following their post-reopening record-setting performance.”

Aron said the combination of widespread vaccinations and the release once again blockbuster movies is proving to be the “magic formula” for the return of moviegoing.

“We could not be more excited about this post-reopening record weekend, and the coming slate of what look to be more blockbuster movies being released this summer and beyond,” Aron said.

AMC Entertainment Looking to Acquire Former Arclight Cinemas, Pacific Theatres Leases; Sells $230.5 Million Worth of Shares to Private Equity Group

AMC Entertainment, corporate parent of AMC Theatres, June 1 announced it has entered into an agreement to raise $230.5 million of cash from the sale of 8.5 million shares of Class A Common stock to Mudrick Capital Management. The equity, which represents about 1.7% of AMC’s outstanding stock, was raised at a price of about $27.12 per share.

AMC said the cash proceeds from the sale would be used to acquire third-party theater leases and enhance the consumer appeal of existing theaters. In addition, AMC said it also intends to use the cash for “deleveraging” opportunities, or the reduction of debt.

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“AMC is being presented with highly attractive theater acquisition opportunities,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “We are in discussions with multiple landlords of superb theaters formerly operated by Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres [in Los Angeles]. With our increased liquidity, an increasingly vaccinated population and the imminent release of blockbuster new movie titles, it is time for AMC to go on the offense again.”

Chinese Wanda Group Exits AMC Theatres Ownership

Dalian Wanda Group, the multi-industry Chinese company that acquired AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion in 2012, has quietly liquidated most of its shares in the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor.

Wanda America Entertainment May 21 in a regulatory filing disclosed reducing its AMC stake to stake to 0.002% — down from 6.8% in early April. The company has been reducing its shares as the pandemic continued undermining much of the exhibitor business worldwide through closures, limited movies from studios and reduced seating capacity, among other issues.

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In addition, Wanda saw its shares in AMC further diluted earlier this month when the exhibitor sold 43 million shares to institutional investors, raising $428 million in new equity funding in the process.

“Wanda has been a terrific shareholder of AMC for almost a decade,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “Under their ownership, AMC became the biggest movie theater operator in the world. Importantly, Wanda also has supported our reinvesting billions of dollars to upgrade and enhance our network of theaters for the benefit of moviegoers throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East. I salute Wanda for the immensely constructive role they played in building our company, and want to express my sincerest appreciation and affection for their wise counsel and friendship.”

Interestingly, AMC shares are up more than 470% this year largely due to individual day traders crowdsourcing moves on the exhibitor, and separately video game retailer GameStop, via Reddit forums.

 

AMC Theater Chain Draws 6.8 Million Q1 Moviegoers, Narrows Loss

AMC Entertainment, parent of the world’s largest theatrical chain, AMC Theatres, May 6 reported that 6.8 million moviegoers worldwide frequented its screens in the first quarter (ended March 31). While that’s a 89% drop from 60+ million moviegoers in the same quarter a year ago, it’s a positive re-start for a company that has had scant new movie releases, and many observers left for dead during the height of the pandemic.

Adam Aron

Operating at 15% to 60% seating capacity across 585 domestic theaters, AMC operated an additional 97 international leased and partnership theaters, with limited seating capacities, representing approximately 27% of international theaters.

Revenue plummeted 84% to $148.3 million, from $941 million in the previous-year period. Net loss narrowed to $567.2 million from more than $2.1 billion a year ago.

“We finally can now say that we are looking at an increasingly favorable environment for moviegoing and for AMC as a company over the coming few months,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “This is the result of a successful and steadily growing vaccination program in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East — especially so across the United States.”

Over the past five months, AMC has raised around $2 billion in fresh equity and debt capital, including the conversion of $600 million of convertible notes into equity at a price of $13.51 per share. Over the past 13 months, AMC raised approximately $2.9 billion of cash proceeds from new debt and
equity capital, secured $1.2 billion of concessions from lenders and landlords, obtained more than $150 million of assistance from European governments, and generated more than $80 million from asset sales.

“Taken together, we have made well more than $4 billion of progress from our implementing a myriad of capital actions to help us make it through this global storm,” Aron said.

AMC CEO Aron: ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Quintupled 2021 Revenue in Five Days; Says Studios Moving Back to Shorter Theatrical Window

Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment’s Godzilla vs. Kong opening box office in the U.S. continues to resonate throughout the industry. The actioner generated $48.5 million across five days, sending its global haul near $300 million. For AMC Theatres, the world’s largest exhibitor, the clash of cinematic monsters has been a godsend.

“If you look at our opening performance from Wednesday to Sunday, our business at AMC was five times, quintuple, what we have done in all the weekends before that in 2021,” AMC CEO Adam Aron told Fox Business Network’s “The Claman Countdown.”

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With daily vaccinations in the U.S. rising exponentially, Aron was told that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s infectious diseases expert, had told a separate podcast that at current vaccination levels, movie theaters could be operating at full capacity by the end of the year.

“Well, obviously, we’re so excited when we can lift capacity caps, when we can take masks off,” Aron said. “We’re keeping our 50% capacity caps in place. We’re keeping mask-wearing for now. And we are going to run our theaters this summer with the tightest safety standards we can.”

Aron said more than 10 million moviegoers have frequented AMC Theatres in the past several months, and he hasn’t heard of one documented case of the coronavirus being transmitted in AMC theaters.

“That’s very good news that our safety protocols are working,” he said.

With Disney slated to launch Cruella and Black Widow in theaters and on Disney+ (for a $29.99 add-on price) concurrently on May 28 and July 9, respectively, Aron was asked if the exhibitor has come to a distribution agreement with the Magical Kingdom.

Aron said Hollywood studios are re-thinking their simultaneous theatrical/streaming movie debuts, with Warner set to return to a shortened window (45 days, according to Aron) in 2022. The studio is releasing all 2021 theatrical titles concurrently on the HBO Max SVOD service. Universal Pictures has a revenue-sharing deal with AMC that enables it distribute movies into consumer homes 17 days after their box office debut depending on ticket sales.

“Universal, who’s a big advocate for this simultaneous release on the same day at home that movies hit theaters — they abandoned that concept,” Aron said. “I have every expectation that we will find a happy middle ground with Disney that’s good for Disney shareholders and good for AMC shareholders too.”

AMC: 98% of U.S. Theaters to Open Beginning March 19

AMC Theatres, the largest theatrical exhibitor in the world, on March 17 announced that beginning March 19, more than 98% of its U.S. screens will be open at 25% capacity. AMC expects that by March 26, 99% of its 11,000 U.S. screens will be open.

More than 40 AMC locations in California are reopening beginning March 19, including all 25 locations in Los Angeles County and all eight locations in San Diego County. As of March 22, AMC expects that 52 of its 54 locations in California will be open. The company is preparing to resume operations at its remaining California screens once the proper local approvals are in place. AMC will only reopen its theaters once approved to do so by state and local authorities.

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Among the upcoming openings in California are two new theaters in the Los Angeles area that will be serving guests for the first time ever. AMC Porter Ranch 9 at the Vineyards at Porter Ranch will have its grand opening on March 19. Guests can expect AMC’s most popular amenities, including Dolby Cinema at AMC and AMC’s Signature Recliners.

On March 22, AMC’s newest dine-in location, AMC Dine-In Montclair Place 12, will open for the first time. Along with the dine-in menu, moviegoers will have access to Imax at AMC, Dolby Cinema at AMC and the AMC Signature Recliners. Montclair Place 12 will open with a limited menu on March 22 and will expand to its full menu on March 26.

“It was exactly one year ago that we closed all AMC locations in the United States,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “AMC is reopening and operating with the highest devotion to the health and safety of our guests and associates through our Safe & Clean policies and protocols, which were developed in consultation with Clorox and with current and former faculty at the Harvard University School of Public Health.”

AMC Theatres in California reopening March 19:

Contra Costa County
AMC Brentwood 14

Los Angeles County
AMC Atlantic Times Square 14
AMC Burbank Town Center 6
AMC Burbank Town Center 8
AMC Broadway 4
AMC Covina 17
AMC Del Amo 18
AMC Fallbrook 7
AMC Galleria At South Bay 16
AMC Glendora 12
AMC La Mirada 7
AMC DINE-IN Marina 6
AMC Marina Marketplace 6
AMC Marina Pacifica 12
AMC Montebello 10
AMC Norwalk 20
AMC Promenade 16
AMC Rolling Hills 20
AMC Santa Anita 16
AMC Santa Monica 7
AMC Sunset 5
AMC Universal CityWalk 19
AMC Porter Ranch 9
AMC Anaheim Garden Walk 6
AMC DINE-IN Fullerton 20
AMC Tustin 14
AMC Woodbridge 5

Riverside County
AMC Temecula 10
AMC Tyler 16

San Bernardino County
AMC Apple Valley 14
AMC DINE-IN Montclair Place 12 (Opening March 22)
AMC Ontario Mills 30
AMC Victoria Gardens

San Diego County
AMC Chula Vista 10
AMC Fashion Valley 18
AMC La Jolla Village 12
AMC Mission Valley 20
AMC Otay Ranch 12
AMC Palm Promenade 14
AMC Plaza Bonita 14
AMC Poway 10

Ventura County
AMC Thousand Oaks 14

AMC Theatres CEO Open to Concurrent Streaming Windows — Depending on Fiscal Terms

It’s not often the CEO of a company that lost $946 million in its most-recent fiscal quarter, and $4.6 billion for the fiscal year, is giddy with excitement. Nor is it common to hear the same executive say he’s not opposed to concurrent streaming/theatrical distribution.

But it was all there in virtual color on AMC Entertainment’s March 10 fiscal call spearheaded by CEO Adam Aron.

When asked about Disney, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures’ efforts to shorten the theatrical window for specific titles and slates of movies, Aron said change and thinking outside the box has been part of AMC’s DNA for years. He recalled signing onto the 2016 concept, dubbed “Screening Room,” from Napster founder Sean Parker that would have made new-release movies available in consumer homes concurrently with their theatrical launches.

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“That never took off … but over the past several years, [we have] indicated in private conversations with every major studio that we were willing to be the most experimental movie circuit around with respect to windows strategies that were different than the traditional norm,” Aron said.

But with change and experimentation, the executive stressed there always had to be a positive for AMC and its shareholders; not just the studios.

“When we couldn’t strike deals with studios on shorter windows, we resisted them with all of our might,” Aron said. “This is an area I feel very good about.”

He recalled the exhibitor’s very public 90-day letter writing campaign with Universal Pictures that resulted in a landmark agreement enabling the studio to distribute theatrical titles directly into homes within 17 days of their box office debut, depending on ticket sales.

“It suggested there were alternate ways of distribution,” Aron said.

Fast-forward to Warner’s HBO Max announcement that the studio would release its entire 2021 theatrical slate simultaneously on WarnerMedia’s upstart subscription streaming video platform.

“We put out a very clear statement: That we were not willing to let Warner advantage its streaming service at AMC shareholder’s expense,” Aron said.

Yet, it doesn’t take a sleuth to notice that AMC is screening Warner Bros. movies such as Judas and the Black Messiah and Tom & Jerry — both of which are also streaming on Max.

“You should probably assume that if we’re playing Warner Bros. movies, we came to an agreement with the studio that benefits our shareholders,” Aron said without elaborating.

The executive said AMC is willing to engage with every major studio on the same topic, arguing that since the exhibitor has been business partners with all the major studios for decades, it can adjust business relationships.

“They can support their streaming services and theatrical leases, and do so not at our expense,” Aron said, adding that discussions with studios where the window policy has changed, “we think we have come out ahead and not behind.”

Separately, as of March 5, about 90% of AMC Theatres domestic screens were open. The exhibitor is slated to re-open screens in Alameda, Calif., which includes Oakland and East Bay on March 12, with a possible reboot in SoCal possibly by March 19.

To put the magnitude of a Los Angeles market re-opening into perspective, the “designated market area” is about double the size of the NY City market. Indeed, almost 33% of all AMC domestic movie viewing dollars is generated in just four states: California, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. AMC permanently closed 60 underperforming theaters, including 48 domestically and 12 internationally in 2020.

“The New York re-opening is a harbinger of things to come,” Aron said. “We are like La Guardia Airport closed by a thunderstorm with tons of planes circling above, all waiting to land and all needing to land.”

The executive said the week will mark the 100th million vaccination in arm nationwide, with another 60 million to 90 million injections scheduled monthly.

“The real salvation of our company will be because of vaccinations,” Aron said, adding that in his eyes, the most important person in the entire movie business is Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer.

“He and his talented colleagues, and those of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are who have given us our new fortitude,” Aron said, adding he had the privilege of thanking Albert firsthand for saving AMC.

“And those sentiments of thanks were never more deserved,” he said.

 

AMC Theatres Posts $4.58 Billion Fiscal Loss in 2020

There was only one fiscal winner at AMC Theatres in 2020: CEO Adam Aron. As expected, the world’s largest movie exhibitor March 10 reported a $4.58 billion loss for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020. The chain, which has been operating about 67% of its domestic screens with government-mandated limited seating capacity limited to 20% to 40% due to the pandemic, lost $946.1 million in the fourth quarter, despite reporting attendance of more 8 million moviegoers worldwide in the quarter.

Revenue for the quarter dropped 89% to $162.5 million from $1.45 billion in the previous-year period. For the year, revenue tumbled 77% to $1.24 billion, from $5.5 billion.

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AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron

“This past year has presented AMC with the most challenging
market conditions in the 100-year history of the company,” Aron said in a statement. “As unprecedented as these times have been, so too is the unprecedented drive and commitment of the AMC team to take swift and decisive actions to ensure our survival and our success.”

Indeed, despite partial re-openings, attendance in the quarter plummeted 91% to 8 million, from 92.5 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, attendance fell 79% to 75.1 million, from 356.4 million in 2019.

Aron, who saw his total 2020 compensation double to $20.9 million, which included $5 million in bonuses, said better days are just around the corner for exhibitors.

“As we sit here today, we see that vaccinations are occurring in the U.S. at a brisk clip, our theaters in New York City have finally opened, with theaters in Los Angeles likely opening shortly as well, blockbuster movie titles are currently scheduled to be released in significant quantity in the coming few months, and we have more than $1 billion of cash on hand,” Aron said. “Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC’s ability to get to the other side of this pandemic.”

CEO Adam Aron: A Lot of AMC Theatres Were ‘Sold Out’ Last Weekend

The past week marked a return of sorts to the milk and honey days AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron used to take for granted. Thirteen theaters re-opened in New York City, a major barometer in the exhibition business, for the first time in 12 months, resulting in the biggest domestic weekend box office since the pandemic begun.

“A lot of our theaters were sold out [at 25% capacity],” Aron told Fox Business Network’s “The Claman Countdown.” “Saturday night across the United States was the single busiest day for AMC since March 2020. And the New York [designated market area] was the biggest for AMC. That’s an example of pent-up demand.”

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Aron, who last week was awarded $20.9 million in total compensation for 2020 by the AMC board, including $5 million in bonuses, said he expects seating capacity in theaters to begin escalating as vaccinations level rise.

AMC Theatres CEO Adam Aron

“This week we should cross 100 million injections in arms, and it looks like we’re doing, I don’t know, 75 million to 90 million injections a month now in the U.S.,” he said. “President Biden said every American adult can get vaccinated by the end of May. Clearly that means the capacity limits in movie theaters will rise.”

When asked if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had given any indication when 50% theater capacity could be reached, Aron said he was just happy to be open again in the Big Apple. 

“It’s been 50 and a half weeks that we were closed in New York,” he said.

In pre-pandemic 2019, AMC sold more movie tickets than any other business in the world — and only sold 17% of its available seats.

Remember that movie theaters are not sports stadiums or Broadway theaters that routinely sell out,” he said. “We’re more like churches built for Easter Sunday.”

Despite the new release of Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, box office grosses were a bit anemic nationwide. While more than half of all movie theatres in the country remain closed, 90% AMC screens are open.

“We have about twice as many theaters open as the rest of the industry combined,” Aron said. “Some people say we’re in the new car business, and to sell new cars you need new cars in the showrooms. There have only been half a dozen major movies released in the last year.”

Aron said he’s upbeat for the movie business from Memorial Day weekend through the Fourth of July when Paramount Pictures releases A Quiet Place Part II and Universal Pictures bows F9: The Fast Saga, among other titles.

“When Top Gun: Maverick comes with Tom Cruise, I — everything I hear is that movie is spectacular, and it’s going to be like that like, every week for the rest of 2021,” Aron said. “We’re going to see one major title after another come out. Plus, by the end of May, June, July period, the number of Americans going to be vaccinated will be huge. Right now, we don’t even have 20% of the U.S. public that’s been vaccinated.”