AMC Entertainment lost about $4.6 billion in 2020 in a crushing year that immersed the nation’s largest movie chain in an existential crisis. But the company said it believes it will survive.
With hopes emerging that the COVID-19 pandemic may slowly subside as vaccinations accelerate, AMC CEO Adam Aron said Wednesday that the company is growing increasingly optimistic.
He pointed to the vaccine rollout, movie theaters opening in New York City and likely soon Los Angeles and blockbuster movies scheduled to be released in the coming months.
Aron also noted that the company has more than $1 billion of cash on hand after several financial maneuvers designed to give the company more runway to outlast the COVID-19 crisis.
“Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC’s ability to get to the other side of this pandemic,” he said in a statement.
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A sanitation station at AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. (Photo: Patrick Ryan)
Still, the red ink stood out on AMC’s fourth-quarter earnings report.
The company posted a net loss of $4.6 billion in 2020, including $946 million in the fourth quarter. That compared with a loss of $149 million in 2019 and $13.5 million in that year’s fourth quarter.
In 2020, revenue fell 77% to $1.24 billion, including an 89% drop in fourth-quarter revenue to $163 million.
The company sold only 4.82 million tickets at its American theaters in the fourth quarter, down 92% from a year earlier. For all of 2020, it sold 46.45 million at its American theaters, down 81% from 2019.
About two-thirds of AMC’s U.S. theaters were operating as of Dec. 31, with capacities ranging from 20% to 40%.
Interest in AMC’s stock boomed in January and February as investors making plans on Reddit targeted stocks that Wall Street investors had bet against.
Sophisticated short sellers took steep losses as stocks like AMC and GameStop soared. AMC shares briefly topped $20 in February, a more than 10-fold increase from its January lows, but has since relinquished much of the gain.
AMC’s stock fell 6.5% to $9.85 on Wednesday but was up 7.6% in after-hours trading after the earnings report was released.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.
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