AMC Entertainment Shares Surge, Bucking Soft Market

AMC got its meme back Thursday, with the stock surging 27% at its high on heavy volume, way outpacing the broader market and other publicly traded theater chains.

The jump was its biggest since May as the stock revisited its days as huge chatroom favorite. Volatility is a hallmark of meme stocks with others like Bed Bath & GameStop also higher.

“Some days the shorts have control, and some days the retail investors have control,” said one Wall Streeter.

AMC ended the session off its highs but still up more than 13% at $8.18. The broader Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped 195 points and the Russell 2000 was down as well. Among other exhibitors, Cinemark was up 1.25% at $13.78; Marcus firmed slightly to $16.31; Imax was off 0.65% at $16.78.

The giant movie chain has been clawing its way out of a stock slump since late August after issuing APE securities, or AMC Preferred Equity units. Apes are also a name for retail investors bullish on heavily-shorted stocks. The APE units, which were over $7 in August, rose just over 1% to about 98 cents.

CEO Adam Aron has continued to cultivate his millions of retail investors with projects from movie merchandise sales to AMC popcorn in supermarkets. “That’s not going to really move the needle,” said Alicia Reese of Wedbush Securities. What will, she said, are the company’s renewed efforts to upgrade its European circuit, expand in the Middle East and pay down debt.  

News last month that Amazon is committing to eight to ten films annually is good news for exhibition. Bob Iger’s return to Disney is seen as a boon too, Reese said, as he’s historically been a supporter of theatrical windows.

Avatar: The Way Of Water, the long awaited James Cameron sequel to the highest grossing movie of all-time, opens Dec. 16. Some on Reddit even noted the new trailer for Paramount’s Transformers: Rise of The Beasts.

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