AMC Entertainment posted record fourth quarter sales on Thursday, spurred by the theater giant’s acquisition of several cinema chains a year earlier.
Before markets opened Thursday, AMC reported $1.42 billion in revenue and a loss of 2.14 cents a share for the three months ended December 31. The revenue spike was a 53 percent jump year-over-year, with AMC posting its best Q4 marks for admissions and concessions.
AMC pointed to its 2016 acquisitions of Odeon Cinemas Group, Nordic Cinema Group and Carmike Cinemas for its boost in revenue. Admissions revenue jumped 52 percent — from $588.8 million to $897.1 million — from its previous fourth quarter.
“The acquisitions of Odeon, Carmike and Nordic, and the investments we made during 2017, both domestically and internationally, in food and beverage initiatives, in our signature recliners and in premium sight and sound experiences, together with previously announced revenue enhancements and cost controls drove record revenues and improved operating margins in the fourth quarter,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.
AMC reported a $276 million loss, due to a one-time tax payment of $310 million, following a change to U.S. tax laws. Without the payment, the company would have reported earnings of about $34 million — compared to $29 million a year earlier.
After a 6 percent spike as markets opened on Thursday, shares of AMC were trading down about 1.5 percent to $14.75 a share 30 minutes into the morning session.
On the company’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday morning, Aron said the company had to “get religion” after underwhelming results from a slow summer movie season. Like IMAX earlier in the week, AMC teased a strong start to 2018, thanks to the “record breaking audiences” for “Black Panther” in the U.S. and Europe.
“We’ve never been more confident that, overall, the movie industry is strong, stable and growing over the long term,” said Aron on the call.
Aron added the outlook on a premium-video-on-demand service in the U.S. was bleak. “In our opinion, there is little chance — and if Disney acquires Fox — there is no chance that PVOD will be implemented in the United States in 2018.” Without PVOD, AMC is looking at other options to “grow the pie,” said the exec.