Shares of AMC Entertainment rallied nearly 7% on Monday, giving investors something to cheer about right out of the gate. The stock is inching closer to the USD 40 level once again after trading below the USD 30 threshold in early August.
Retail investors have been drawn to AMC largely based on its meme-stock status, which is tied to sentiment on social media. Nevertheless, AMC’s fundamentals appear to be strengthening in their own right.
Mass Vaccinations in Sight
AMC’s stock could be benefiting directly from a positive development out of the pharmaceutical sector. The U.S. FDA has given the green light to a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech. The drug, which they are calling Comirnaty, will be made available to people as young as 16 years old.
Even though millions of Americans have already been inoculated, the FDA stamp of approval is expected to instill confidence that the drug is safe. With mass vaccinations in sight, the economy stands to benefit, including the entertainment industry and movie chains such as AMC.
In fact, AMC CEO Adam Aron on the company’s Q2 earnings call made a link between the strength of the balance sheet and vaccination levels. He stated,
“Vaccination rates have climbed quickly in 2021. And the counterintuitive result of this new Delta variant is that vaccinations likely will continue to rise, and vaccination increasing is very important for AMC and for the movie theater industry generally.”
David vs. Goliath
AMC Entertainment was founded more than a century ago in Kansas City, Miss. Now the company must transform itself to compete in the era of streaming entertainment in which on-demand platforms designed for mobile devices and computers have taken market share.
AMC’s Aron appears to be the person for the job. He is confronting the threat that movie studios pose by bypassing the theater experience in favor of releasing films to content streaming platforms first.
At next week’s CinemaCon, the big annual movie theatre conclave, @AMCTheatres receives the Marquis Award celebrating our 101 years of cinema leadership. At that time, I will emphasize the importance to studios of showcasing their movies in theatres before streaming them to homes.
— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) August 20, 2021
Movie studios and theaters have long had a love/hate relationship given the dependence that the cinema companies have on studios for their very survival. Since the pandemic hit, some major movie studios inked deals with movie chains such as AMC to soften the blow with a bigger piece of the profit pie as movies became available on demand.
In the interim, another way that AMC’s Aron is fighting back is by embracing the cryptocurrency revolution, with plans to accept bitcoin as a payment method for tickets and popcorn by the end of the year.
This article was originally posted on FX Empire