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AMC Theatres Lost $4.6 Billion in 2020

And you think you had a bad year

AMC Entertainment had a fitting end to a terrible year, reporting losses of $946.1 million for the final quarter of 2020. The theater chain brought in about $20 million more in Q4 revenue than media analysts had forecast, however.

Wall Street estimated AMC would lose $3.15 per share in 2020’s fourth quarter, posting revenue of $142.35 million, according to a consensus compiled by Yahoo Finance. Pretty good guess there on the diluted losses, as AMC reported a loss of exactly $3.15 per share. America’s largest movie exhibitor posted $162.50 million in revenue for the final three months of the coronavirus year.

Across the 12 months of calendar (and fiscal) 2020, AMC lost a stunning $4.6 billion. Few business were as decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic as movie theaters.

As of Dec. 31, 2020, AMC was operating 394 of its domestic theaters — about 67% of its full tally — with limited seating capacities of between 20%-40%, the company said. Internationally, 109 theaters — or about 30% of what AMC owns — were open on a limited basis.

AMC president and CEO Adam Aron had a lot to say in his prepared remarks. Perhaps he felt the need to justify his giant pay increase despite a disastrous financial year. Or maybe he was just being thorough.

As you might expect, Aron focused on his company’s reasons for optimism, like the recent reopening of theaters in New York City and the expectation that theaters in Los Angeles will follow suit shortly. Plus, AMC has been able to raise a lot of cash to pilot through this thing. No mentioning of the changing (read: shortening or even eliminating) theatrical-window deals, an evolving process that has not been favorable for movie houses, in the below.

“This past year has presented AMC with the most challenging market conditions in the 100-year history of the company,” Aron began his statement accompanying the financials. “As unprecedented as these times have been, so too is the unprecedented drive and commitment of the AMC team to take swift and decisive actions to ensure our survival and our success. As we sit here today, we see that vaccinations are occurring in the United States at a brisk clip, our theatres in New York City have finally opened with theatres in Los Angeles likely opening shortly as well, blockbuster movie titles are currently scheduled to be released in significant quantity in the coming few months, and we have more than $1 billion of cash on hand. Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC’s ability to get to the other side of this pandemic.”

He continued: “During the fourth quarter, more than 8 million U.S. and international patrons confidently returned to an AMC theatre, assured of their safety due, in large part, to the robust steps we have taken through our AMC Safe & Clean protocols, designed in consultation with Clorox and current and former faculty of Harvard University’s acclaimed School of Public Health, to ensure that we are reopening responsibly and with a focus on the health and safety of our guests and associates. The guest feedback we continue to receive is the highest we have seen for the cleanliness of our theatres, and I am grateful to our theatre crews for their focus and diligent efforts to successfully implement our safety protocols.”

“Our most important single point of focus, after ensuring a safe and clean environment for our theatre guests and workforce, has been to strengthen AMC’s liquidity profile,” Aron said. “Since March of 2020, we have raised approximately $2.2 billion of gross cash proceeds from new debt and equity capital, securing more than $1 billion of concessions from creditors and landlords, raising more than $80 million from asset sales and seeing $600 million of convertible notes convert from debt to equity. I am confident that the actions that we have taken have positioned us well to capitalize on pent-up demand for movie going as the rollout of vaccines accelerates. We look forward to returning to an environment of unfettered movie theatre access for our guests, and we are eager to showcase the sizable and widely anticipated slate of new films that our studio partners have to offer.”

AMC stock closed Wednesday’s regular trading day at $9.85 per share. On news of its revenue results, shares immediately rose a couple of quarters apiece.

The constant reiteration of AMC’s reopening plans/hopes likely didn’t hurt.