AMC Theaters reported another jarring but predictable loss in its fourth quarter earnings, but the company’s CEO is optimistic that the theater chain will make it out of the pandemic alright.
Revenue was down 88 percent year over year, to $162.5 million. While beating expectations, that still led to a quarterly loss of $946 million (slightly better than the last quarter, though significantly worse than the $13.5 million loss AMC reported in its 2019 fourth quarter), but AMC also has more than $1 billion in cash on hand, according to CEO Adam Aron. On the tailwinds of announcements that New York City would start to allow theaters to open, and studios seemingly preparing to head back to theaters, Aron is trying to find the positives while acknowledging the “most challenging market conditions in the 100-year history of the company.”
“As we sit here today, we see that vaccinations are occurring in the United States at a brisk clip, our theatres in New York City have finally opened with theatres in Los Angeles likely opening shortly as well, [and] blockbuster movie titles are currently scheduled to be released in significant quantity in the coming few months,” Aron said in a press release. “Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC’s ability to get to the other side of this pandemic.”
As noted in AMC’s earnings, part of the reason that AMC is still able to push forward and Aron feels optimistic is because of capital raised throughout 2020 and 2021. Add in newfound love from retail traders (similar to what happened with GameStop in late January), and AMC’s stock price has also somewhat rebounded over the last several weeks. Now, with announcements from President Joe Biden that nearly every American should be able to receive their vaccination by May 2021, studios are looking to get their blockbusters out in theaters again and AMC is hoping to bring as many moviegoers in as possible.
There are still a lot of questions on the table. How has the irrevocably shortened theatrical window, brought on by companies with major studios like NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS, and Disney possibly harmed AMC’s overall business? Will people want to rush into theaters by the summer? Could something else happen that delays everything reopening en masse once again?
For now, Aron is optimistic — at least in front of his company’s shareholders, investors, and analysts. The CEO will say more about the business and industry at large on the company’s earnings call this afternoon.