Cinema operator AMC Entertainment beat second-quarter revenue estimates on Monday (Aug 9), lifted by the return of moviegoers to its theaters after a year of closures and restrictions, sending its shares up nearly 6 per cent in extended trading.
The latest installment of the Fast and Furious film F9: The Fast Saga in June and Godzilla vs Kong at the end of March gave AMC much-needed relief from the blows it has taken from the pandemic over the past year due to theater closures.
Nearly all of AMC's theaters reopened during the quarter as more people got vaccinated and pandemic-related curbs were eased.
But ticket sales at the world's largest theater chain are still far off the billions it was raking in two years ago, with film release cycles yet to pick up and the threat of the Delta variant of the virus hanging over audiences.
Revenue at the company, one of the "meme stocks" at the center of a boom in small-time investing this year, rose to US$444.7 million in the quarter ended Jun 30, from US$18.9 million a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected revenue of US$382.1 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
AMC capitalised on the surge in its share price to raise more than US$1 billion through equity offerings, cushioning the damage from dried up ticket sales during the pandemic.
The company raised another US$1.25 billion of new equity capital in the quarter, taking AMC's quarter-ending liquidity to more than US$2 billion.
"Thanks to increased vaccination counts in the countries we serve, we started to see rising movie going demand, and we safely welcomed more than 22 million guests back to our theatres across the globe during the course of the second quarter," said AMC.
Excluding items, the company had a loss of 71 cents per share, while analysts had expected 91 cents.