Despite every effort by the well-intentioned who want investors to see how dim its prospects are, shares in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) will not die. After a series of gyrations, its shares have risen from below $4 to above $6 in a week. Nevertheless, the stock is still down 70% over the past year. (Click here for the companies that control over 50% of their industry.)
AMC is caught by what is known as creative destruction. An old model is overwhelmed by a new and presumably better one. AMC is in the movie theater business. Fewer and fewer people go to movie theaters. COVID-19 accelerated this. Streaming media ensured it.
While the end is in sight, sometimes there is a bit of hope. The success of “Top Gun: Maverick” was because many people wanted to see it on the big screen. Actor Tom Cruise said it was the only way viewers could do his work justice. For every “Top Gun,” there are 20 movies made by Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Hulu and HBO that never debut outside people’s living rooms.
AMC management has a gift for raising money, but that is not enough to unseal the company’s difficult future. AMC lost $226 million in the most recent quarter. Management said it was because demand was soft. There were not enough blockbusters. The fourth-quarter blockbuster season would reverse that. However, blockbusters on streaming services are released more frequently.
Another problem that stands in the way of an AMC recovery is the COVID-19 pandemic. It will not go away, especially when the weather is cold. Hundreds of people die from the disease every day. The public is repeatedly warned that crowded areas are a danger.
AMC does not have a bright future, but some investors refuse to give up. That is a mistake.
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