AMC CEO Adam Aron eyes 2023 hike in movie releases, touts ‘path to eventual pandemic recovery’
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.’s path to recovery will be helped by an increase in movies released in theaters this year, according to CEO Adam Aron, who noted that 35% more movies will be released in 2023 than in 2022, as the movie-theater industry attempts to recover from COVID-19-related slowdown.
“Articles quoting so-called experts thinking streaming dooms movie theatres are SO fundamentally incorrect,” Aron tweeted Friday. “So WRONG. Our problem is major studios released a lot fewer movies in 2021 & 2022 than in pre-pandemic years. Happily, vs 2022, the number of movies up by about 35% in 2023!”
stock ended Friday’s session down 8.6%, compared with the S&P 500 Index’s
gain of 0.22%. The company’s stock has fallen 55.1% over the last 12 months, outpacing the S&P 500 Index’s decline of 7.4%.
Related: AMC’s new ticket pricing based on seat location is not the answer, says research organization
“On a lighter note, earlier I said the number of movie releases in 2023 will be 35% more than in ‘22. That’s SO important for AMC’s path to eventual pandemic recovery,” he added, in a subsequent tweet Saturday.
Aron also discussed his shareholding of the movie theater chain and its AMC Preferred Equity
units Friday. Last month he tweeted that he is AMC’s largest retail shareholder.
“It continues to astound and confound me that some out there hypothesize that I am not on the side of retail investors,” he tweeted. “I will say it over and over. I own or have an economic interest in millions of AMC shares and APE units. I am a retail shareholder. Of course I am on your side!”
See: AMC sells stake in Saudi Arabia joint venture, shifts to licensing partnership
Aron sold more than $40 million in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.’s stock between November 2021 and January 2022.
The CEO, who has led the theater chain since 2016, is a keen user of Twitter to connect with the retail investors who turned AMC into a meme-stock phenomenon. A fan of memes and quirky tweets, Aron has racked up more than 291,000 followers on the platform.
AMC has been on a roller-coaster ride over the past two years that has taken it from beleaguered pandemic victim to meme-stock phenomenon. The company used the steep rise in its share price to tap into equity and debt markets, raising $917 million in January 2021.
Related: AMC’s APE conversion a ‘massive’ opportunity to wipe out debt and drive expansion, says analyst
In an SEC filing last week, AMC announced that it has repurchased $365 million of debt since the beginning of 2022.
“We have far more still to do in this regard, but you know the old saying, ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’” tweeted Aron.
In November, AMC announced its 12th consecutive quarterly loss. The company’s sales were $968.4 million, compared with $763.2 million in the same period last year. AMC exited its fiscal third-quarter with debt of $5.325 billion and with cash and cash equivalents of $684.6 million.
Now read: ‘Avatar’ ticket sales better than expected, says AMC CEO Adam Aron
The company is engaged in a battle to eliminate its debt burden. In an SEC filing last month, AMC announced a special meeting of shareholders to increase the number of AMC authorized shares from just over 524 million to 550 million and authorize a 1-for-10 reverse split of the company’s common stock, converting APEs into shares of common stock. The special meeting of shareholders is scheduled for March 14, 2023, according to the SEC filing.
AMC describes itself as the largest movie-theater company in the world, with approximately 950 theaters and 10,500 screens across the globe.
Of seven analysts surveyed by FactSet, three have a hold rating and four have a sell rating for AMC.
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