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AMC Entertainment Earnings Dragged Down by Weak Box Office

It was, by most measures, a bad few months to be a major theater chain.

And AMC Entertainment as the world’s biggest exhibitor, felt the burn from a series of flop films and underperforming blockbuster hopefuls during its most recent quarter. The company’s revenues fell 13.2% to $1.2 billion, while the company suffered an adjusted loss of $1.21 per share. It also recorded a net loss of $130.2 million.

The losses were worse than anticipated. Wall Street analysts had predicted that AMC would show a loss of 54 cents a share. However, the revenues were slightly better than the consensus estimate of $1.19 billion.

The movie business was in a funk for the first three months of 2019. “Captain Marvel” was a hit, grossing more than $1.1 billion globally, as was Jordan Peele’s thriller “Us,” but the rest of the pickings were slim, at least when it came to movies people wanted to see. The movie business also suffered unenviable comparison with 2018 when “Black Panther” turbocharged box office receipts. AMC wasn’t the only chain to see its fortunes fade. U.S. movie admissions slid 14.9% in the first quarter to 265.6 million and box office receipts plunged 16.3% to $2.39 billion. AMC did manage to outperform the industry — its domestic attendance per screen only declined 10.1% in the first quarter of 2019.

In a statement accompanying the feeble results, AMC chief Adam Aron was all about the future. He made a point of mentioning the global success of “Avengers: Endgame,” a certified smash that opened after the most recent quarter had ended.

“Grossing well over $2 billion globally in just its first two weeks in theaters, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ continues to validate the appeal to consumers of seeing high quality movies, communally, in theaters, on the big screen,” said Aron. “Accordingly, we continue to be excited about the remainder of 2019, which we believe might be the highest grossing 9-month period in cinema history. We are optimistic that the full year 2019 box office will be at least as strong as 2018, and potentially could be the first year ever that the domestic box office breaks $12 billion.”

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