Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Summer Will Only Get Better for AMC

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Jun 28, 2021 at 4:07PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

"F9" helped U.S. theaters set a post-pandemic record for a non-holiday weekend, and attendance will only move higher from here.

Movie theaters across the country hit the F9 key over the weekend, giving multiplex operators their strongest opening for a single movie since late 2019. F9 -- the ninth film in the Fast and Furious franchise -- rang up an estimated $70 million in domestic ticket sales over the weekend. You have to go back to the ninth installment of the Star Wars series that topped $177 million in opening weekend box office receipts nearly 18 months ago for a stronger domestic debut.

This is obviously welcome news for AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC -9.69%) and its peers. The arrival of a highly anticipated movie that isn't available on any of the major streaming services is a hit, and the positive implications go well beyond a big weekend of ticket and popcorn sales for exhibitors. Even though $70 million in domestic ticket sales means that just 2% of the country saw Comcast's (CMCSA -1.66%) F9 on the silver screen, the feat should make rival studios more comfortable in sticking to upcoming theatrical release dates for their biggest films. On a higher level, F9's financial success could lead studios to rethink their approach to making films available on premium streaming platforms the same day the flicks hit theaters.   

A pair of movie patrons watching a film at a multiplex.

Image source: Getty Images.

Putting the pedal to the metal

A lot has changed since Saturday Night Live skewered AMC and the moviegoing experience in its season finale five weeks ago. Beck Bennett played Vin Diesel, singing the praises and pitfalls of checking out F9 at the local AMC multiplex. The parody ends when he is asked by an AMC attendant to put on a mask, at which point he advises viewers that it's time to go home and watch the movie. 

AMC no longer requires vaccinated guests to wear face coverings unless local regulations state otherwise. It's also not as easy as it's been with other studio releases to enjoy the film from home. Comcast won't make it available as a premium on-demand stream for another month following its blazing debut weekend. 

Where will the summer go from here? Things should get even better. As big as F9's premiere was, total ticket sales across all movies failed to crack $100 million. This weekend didn't break the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend's high-water mark for 2021. The lack of major releases is why A Quiet Place Part II has been one of the two most-viewed films for five consecutive weekends. That run will undeniably end soon, as that movie will be available on Paramount+ in two weeks. 

Thankfully the pipeline is loaded in July. It's not just about the U.S. market. F9 has now topped $400 million in ticket sales worldwide since opening earlier in most major countries. More than half of those box office receipts have come from China. AMC and its rivals don't need to have a global reach for this to matter. Hollywood knows that the U.S. market is just one part of a global moviegoing audience that needs the escapism of films on the largest screens available. 

Improving multiplex trends doesn't necessarily mean that AMC stock will go higher. The stock's market cap has already exploded 55-fold over the past year between its big gains and its outstanding shares count expanding nearly fivefold. There are cheaper ways to ride the industry's revival. However, fundamentally speaking AMC is in great shape. Its ascent has inspired AMC's CEO to appeal directly to its millions of retail investors. Selling stock at elevated price points has armed it with cash to outlast the competition if not outright acquire them. 

AMC has been not just one of the market's hottest entertainment stocks, but one of Wall Street's biggest winners -- period -- this year. The thesis all along has been that theater patrons will come back. Well, they're back.

Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.
AMC
$19.29 (-9.69%) $-2.07
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$38.61 (-1.66%) $0.65

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
394%
 
S&P 500 Returns
127%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/18/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.