AMC Theaters Close Losses, Rewards Small Investors With Dividend

Rewarding the retail investors who rallied to support the exhibition giant as it struggled with debt and COVID shutdowns, AMC Theaters raised its share price at a critical juncture.

On Thursday, the company announced that it will provide investors with a special dividend of one AMC preferred stock unit for each AMC class A common stock. With a wink and a nod, the company plans to list these units on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “APE,” the preferred nickname of shareholders who joined AMC’s cause when it was on the brink of bankruptcy.

The announcement came as AMC posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday, as summer blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick and Jurassic World Dominion boosted profits. Net losses for the three months ended June 30 improved to $121.6 million compared to a net loss of $344.0 million for the second quarter of 2021. Total revenue increased to $1.2 billion, compared to $444.7 million in the same quarter last year. But that sales number missed Wall Street’s expectations by $20 million.

Lured by hits like “Elvis” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” attendance reached 59 million, a dramatic jump from the 22 million people who attended AMC in the same period last year.

“AMC just completed a spectacularly encouraging second quarter that lifts our spirits and brightens our outlook for the future,” said Adam Aron, chairman and CEO of AMC Entertainment, in a statement.

And yet, Wall Street didn’t seem so enthusiastic. AMC shares lost more than 5% in after-hours trading.

Aron said AMC’s $28 million stake in Hycroft Mining resulted in write-downs on earnings due to stock price volatility. But the AMC chief predicted the unorthodox investment in a company that appears far from selling movie tickets and popcorn would pay off.

“In fact, Hycroft just announced that it will begin its largest drill exploration program in nearly a decade, and we firmly believe that our investment in Hycroft will prove golden over time,” said Aron.

On an earnings call, Aron made news by announcing that Nicole Kidman, who starred in an AMC viral commercial, has been signed on as the theater chain’s public face for another year. Her first ad, in which Kidman raves about how AMC is a place of magic, was parodied, memed, and inspired a series of petitions on Change.org.

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