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AMC's Partnership With Disney This Weekend Is Brilliant

By Rick Munarriz – Nov 11, 2021 at 11:05AM

Key Points

  • Disney+ Day takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with promos across various platforms.
  • AMC has been enlisted to screen Disney-produced films all weekend, and guests don't know what they'll be seeing until it starts.
  • Disney and movie fans will win with this promotional move, but AMC is the one that stands to gain the most from the surprise screenings.

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The country's leading multiplex operator offers up its third-quarter results after Monday's close.

There are plenty of intriguing promotions Walt Disney (DIS -2.21%) has lined up this weekend to celebrate Disney+ Day. With the media giant's popular streaming video service turning two on Friday, Disney has deals for shoppers, music fans, and even non-fungible token (NFT) collectors in the works this weekend. 

One of the more intriguing promotional partnerships is taking place at more than 200 AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC) theaters across the country. Disney+ Day Surprise Screenings finds AMC scheduling films throughout the weekend. Tickets cost just $5, but there's a catch. Multiplex patrons don't know what film they'll be watching until it starts rolling.

A couple at a movie theater, enjoying a bucket of popcorn and a soda.

Image source: Getty Images.

It's a win-win-win screening

Moviegoers have some say in the process. Tickets can be purchased across four categories: Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney, and Star Wars. They're also getting a good deal: five bucks for an early evening screening. They also get a free Disney+ poster. There's also a concessions stand promo available where patrons can score a $5 combo that includes a small soda and an even smaller popcorn. 

Disney wins, too. These aren't current releases being screened. Disney gets to dig as deep as it wants to in its vault to serve up these fan favorites. If it plays its cards right it can cultivate new fans or breathe new life into older franchises. If these movies also happen to be flicks you can stream at home through Disney+ it could possibly convert a few new subscribers. With investors disappointed by the weak net additions for the streaming service in Disney's latest quarter it can use all the promotional muscle that it can get out of this weekend's Disney+ Day celebration. 

Finally we get to AMC, ultimately the biggest winner of all here. A public partnership with Disney is a great photo op. Disney routinely puts out the year's biggest movies, but it stayed away from theatrical distribution for months after AMC and fellow exhibitors reopened last year. It's good to see AMC and its most lucrative supplier pairing up for this promotion.

Disney+ Day Surprise Screenings should also help woo more families to the local multiplex. Attendance has been recovering at AMC, but it's nowhere close to where it was before the pandemic. This weekend's promotion may be the first time time that some families go to the movies in nearly two years. They're going to like what they see with AMC changes including mobile ordering and reserved seating. They may even wind up learning that they can rent entire screens for gatherings -- just in time for a family member's next birthday. 

It's not about the chance to score incremental ticket sales. There's only so far that AMC will get selling $5 tickets and snack combos. The real sport here is fishing. AMC is hoping to hook families back on the movie-going experience, and Disney classics are great bait. The fact that moviegoers don't know what they'll be seeing until the projectors kick in will make this a popular topic on the social media news feeds over the weekend. AMC was already the top dog among movie theater stocks. Now it's using Disney's streaming service to grab even more market share for its multiplex. It's the plot twist that nobody saw coming, and that's brilliant.

Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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