Why a movie chain wants you to stay home


By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

AMC Entertainment, the movie channel and sweetheart of the crowd stock memehopes to take advantage of this as more and more people stay home to watch movies on streaming networks like Netflix and Disney+. How? ‘Or’ What? In the immortal words of NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens: Getcha popcorn ready.

AMC announced last week that it hired a veteran consumer products executive to try to develop its activity sell your popcorn in retail stores, not just in theaters.

Ellen Copaken, a former executive of Pepsi’s Frito-Lay snacks unit and owner of Twinkees, Hostess Brands, will start Friday at AMC as vice president of corporate growth strategy. This is a new role for AMC and Copaken will report to Chief Strategy Officer Mark Pearson.

AMC first said in november that he planned to make a bigger bet on the popcorn trade.

CEO Adam Aron told investors on AMC’s earnings conference call that month that the company plans to open popcorn stands at retailers this year to take advantage of the fact that “we have d longstanding business relationships with the biggest and best shopping center operators. ”

Aron added that AMC was in talks to start selling a line of AMC-branded microwave popcorn and also partnered with food delivery services to make its popcorn a take-out option.

AMC said in an email to CNN Business that it had no further comment on Copaken’s hiring or plans to expand its popcorn business.

But AMC’s decision to branch out into popcorn outside of theater is a bold call. In some ways, it’s an admission that the movie industry has fundamentally changed.

Although viewers are always ready to step out to see big blockbusters like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in theaters, the combination of the pandemic and an abundance of streaming options has resulted in a shift in habits. consumers.

More at AMC than big screens at the multiplex

AMC, to its credit, is trying to adapt to this new reality. In addition to its popcorn plans, the company also announced in November that it hoped to capitalize on the strong demand for cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the digital assets that have taken the world by storm. collectibles.

“We’re in the 21st century after all, and it looks like there’s a real opportunity for AMC in these areas,” Aron said.

Aron noted that the company is considering partnerships that would allow it to accept cryptocurrencies as payment for movie tickets and concession stand items. AMC is even considering launching its own cryptocurrency.

Aron added that the movie channel is “in conversation with several major Hollywood studios about the concept of joint venture commemorative NFTs tied to major movie titles that are playing in our theaters.”

These are some of the reasons why investors, especially stock fans even on Reddit, have fallen in love with AMC. They appreciate that Aron thinks outside the box.

Shares of AMC soared nearly 1,200% last year, while shares of rivals Cinemark, IMAX and UK owner Regal and United Artists cineworld everything fell.

But it’s a different story this year. AMC, as well as other meme stocks such as GameStop, have fell out of favor. AMC is down 25% so far in 2022 while the other three movie stocks have rallied.

AMC still faces many challenges. Even though revenue is expected to nearly double in 2022, analysts expect the company to lose money again after racking up red ink in 2020 and 2021. (AMC declared a preliminary net loss for the fourth quarter of 2021 earlier this month.)

It’s also uncertain whether AMC will be able to make a huge push into the retail popcorn market.

The company faces tremendous competition from consumer products giants that have established relationships with grocery stores. Campbell Soup owns Pop Secret while ConAgra is the parent company of Orville Redenbacher, Jiffy Pop and the Act II microwave brand.

Analysts aren’t fans of the stock either. According to Refinitiv, three analysts have rated AMC as a reserve and six recommend a sell. No analysts surveyed have a buy on the stock and the consensus price target is around $10.45 per share, nearly 50% below current levels.

But it may be a mistake to count AMC. An army of individual investors always likes to antagonize Wall Street pros and short sellers who bet against the stock.

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