AMC Entertainment came up well short of Wall Street’s expectations when it reported a bigger-than-expected third-quarter loss on Thursday, sending shares of the theater giant down 9 percent in after-hours trading.
AMC reported revenue of $1.22 billion — matching analyst estimates — and a loss of 82 cents per share, falling well short of analyst estimates of a loss of 47 cents per share. The theater chain reported a net loss of $100.4 million for the quarter — a 74 percent increase from the same time last year.
AMC chief Adam Aron, on the company’s earnings call on Thursday, pointed to three factors that contributed to the quarterly loss: settling outstanding lawsuits, higher compensation for its employees, and the company subsidizing the expansion of AMC Stubs A-List — its recently launched premium tier of its loyalty program.
A-List subscribers can see three movies per week for $19.95 (plus tax) per month. The company announced earlier this week it was on the verge of passing 500,000 subscribers for AMC Stubs A-List. In total, the current membership of AMC Stubs is 17 million U.S. households.
Admissions revenue slightly dipped from last year, hitting $751.4 million from $753.4 million during the same period last year. AMC attributed the drop to a “decline in U.S. average ticket price of 6.6 percent and industry-wide softness in Europe.” That was offset by food and beverage sales increasing 6.5 percent year-over-year, coming in at $384.8 million for the quarter. Total revenue increased 3.6 percent year-over-year.
AMC shares, which had been rallying for the past three months, fell 9 percent in after-hours trading to $16.52 per share.
Aron emphasized the company’s revamped loyalty program in his statement accompanying financials.
“AMC Stubs members make up more than 40 percent of AMC’s entire U.S. clientele, and as a result, we are now fortunate to have a marketer’s dream, a customer database that is incredibly rich with moviegoing habits and histories,” Aron said. “We are even more thrilled by the game-changing nature of our new A-List VIP tier of AMC Stubs, which is nothing short of a runaway success for AMC. Launched on June 26 of this year, A-List had some 388,000 enrolled members by quarter-end.”
Aron said the new loyalty members translate to an additional $120 million in annual revenue for the theater chain.