AMC Entertainment unveiled its first-quarter 2016 financials early Friday morning, and there was enough good news to pop some (heavily buttered) popcorn over.
The movie exhibitor beat media analysts’ estimates on its bottom line: Wall Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 21 cents — AMC’s diluted EPS of 29 cents and its adjusted version two pennies lower both comfortably surpassed consensus forecasts. Before boiling it down per share, net earnings rocketed 360.9 percent year over year to $28.3 million. Of course, AMC started with a pretty low comparable benchmark, but you won’t hear shareholders — or executives — complaining.
There was some sour (patch) news for the theatre chain, however: Revenue missed final forecasts, despite setting sales records for the quarter. Wall Street folks wanted $769.29 million, AMC actually delivered $766 million.
So how’d the company get here? Well, we all paid record first-quarter ticket prices — $9.42 — leading to an all-time best Q1 door rake of $482.6 million. AMC can thank “Deadpool,” “Batman v Superman” and “Zootopia” for much of that. Once inside, we hit the concession stands pretty hard, handing over $244.2 million there — another record for the first three months of any year. Food and beverage revenues per patron increased 6.3 percent to $4.76, which is the highest in the history of the company.
Among those pretty pleased is Adam Aron, AMC chief executive officer and president.
“AMC is off to a great start in 2016,” he said in written remarks. “Our relentless pursuit of innovation and delivering the best possible movie-going experience for our guests, together with the December 2015 acquisition of Starplex Cinemas, generated record first-quarter results at AMC. We are pleased to report record attendance, record revenue, record adjusted EBITDA, record diluted EPS and record free cash flow.”
“We fundamentally believe that we will continue to succeed by serving our guests with the very best amenities that theatrical exhibition can offer,” Aron continued. “We also plan on continuing to leverage our marketing and technology prowess to further enhance loyalty to AMC, from both our current and potential guests. The recently completed Starplex acquisition and the anticipated consummation of the announced purchase of Carmike Cinemas should further serve to significantly accelerate the pace of our growth.”
“AMC is well down a path to drive higher attendance and revenues, all the while managing our costs intelligently,” he concluded. “As a result, we see tremendous opportunity ahead for AMC to continue in delivering value to our shareholders, both today and well into the future.”
AMC stock closed Thursday at $28.22 per share, up 21 cents or 0.75 percent — growth that escalated in the after-hours trading. The regular market day opens again at 9:30 a.m. ET this morning.
Last month, AMC announced plans to buy Carmike for $1.1 billion, creating the world’s largest movie theater chain. AMC currently boasts 5,426 screens and many of the most productive theaters in the country’s top markets.
Carmike has 2,954 screens, primarily located in mid-size, non-urban communities. Together, AMC and Carmike would have well over 6,000 theater locations in 45 states across the country, including Washington, D.C.
The transaction was approved by both Boards of Directors of AMC and Carmike, respectively. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval and approval by Carmike’s shareholders.
AMC Entertainment executives will hold a conference call today to discuss the company’s first-quarter results at 8:30 a.m. ET.