AMC posts upbeat results as people return to theatres

BENGALURU (REUTERS) – Cinema operator AMC Entertainment beat second-quarter revenue estimates on Monday, lifted by the return of movie-goers to its theaters after a year of closures and restrictions, sending its shares up 4 per cent in extended trading.

F9: The Fast Saga – the latest instalment of the Fast and Furious series – and Godzilla Vs Kong gave AMC much-needed relief from the blows it has taken from the pandemic over the past year due to theatre closures.

“In short, AMC crushed it in Q2,” chief executive Adam Aron said on a conference call.

Aron added that AMC will have the technology in place to receive payment in Bitcoin by the end of the year as payment for movie tickets and concessions.

Nearly all of AMC’s theatres reopened during the quarter as more people got vaccinated and pandemic-related curbs were eased.

Mr Aron said that US ticket revenue so far in the third quarter was on track to reach 45 per cent of the same quarter in 2019 and was up from 29 per cent for the second quarter.

“That trend line is pointing up. We certainly have a way to go but the progress is clear.” Ticket sales at the world’s largest theatre chain are still far off what it was raking in two years ago, with film release cycles yet to pick up and the threat of the Delta variant of the coronavirus hanging over audiences.

Revenue at the company, one of the “meme stocks” at the centre of a boom in small-time investing this year, rose 19 per cent to US$444.7 million in the quarter ended June 30. Analysts on average had expected US$382.1 million, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

AMC raised another US$1.25 billion of new equity capital in the quarter, taking AMC’s quarter-ending liquidity to more than US$2 billion.

Excluding items, the company posts a loss of 71 US cents per share, much smaller than analysts’ expectation of 91 US cents.

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