AMC Theatres Cuts Q1 Losses Despite Omicron and Lack of Blockbusters

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AMC Entertainment reported on Monday a narrower-than-expected loss during the first quarter, as the nation’s biggest theater chain navigated past a lack of major blockbusters and the Omicron variant surge in January.

The parent company of AMC Theatres reported a net loss of $337.4 million, or 65 cents a share, compared to the year-ago period’s loss of $567.2 million, or $1.32 a share. Excluding item, AMC delivered a loss of $61.7 million or 52 cents a share. Wall Street expected the company would report a loss of 63 cents a share for the first three months of 2022.

Revenue rose to $785 million during the quarter, up sharply from $148.3 million during the year-ago period that was hurt by pandemic shutdowns. However, revenue was down from the $1.17 billion reported during the fourth quarter when AMC posted its first profitable period since the pandemic began.

“Our results for the first quarter of 2022 represent AMC’s strongest first quarter in two full years. We continue on our pandemic recovery trajectory, more than quintupling revenues and improving adjusted EBITDA by nearly eighty percent compared to a year ago,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “The significant progress AMC has made is very rewarding, as our guests continue to recognize the unparalleled movie-going experience offered by AMC.”

Prior to close, AMC’s stock fell 9%, or $1.25, to a price of $12.52, recovering slightly to $12.80 in after-market trading following the release of earnings. The stock has been on a meme-fueled roller coaster ride over the past year, though most of the record gains achieved from its Reddit status have been largely erased over the past six months.

AMC, like the rest of the exhibition industry, had to rely on holdover totals from “Spider-Man: No Way Home” to get through the first part of the quarter, as the usual support for awards contenders was nonexistent amidst a lack of interest in this year’s field and significantly low turnout from older audiences amidst record-breaking COVID-19 infection rates in January thanks to the Omicron variant.

Numbers began to gradually increase in February thanks to decent turnout for films like “Jackass Forever,” “Uncharted” and “Dog,” with March bringing the first blockbuster hit of the year with Warner Bros./DC’s “The Batman,” which grossed $369 million domestically and $764 million worldwide. But it wasn’t enough to keep attendance on the same level as last quarter with Q1 reporting 39 million moviegoers at AMC locations compared to 59.6 million for Q4 2021.

Movie theaters should see a profit in Q2 amidst the April success of “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” — which has grossed $170 million and signaled renewed moviegoing interest among families — and the explosive $187 million domestic opening of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” this past weekend.

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