AMC Entertainment reported a net loss of $4.6 billion in 2020, a shocking illustration of the toll that the coronavirus pandemic took on the world’s largest theater chain and the exhibition sector. With many locations shuttered for months and Hollywood blockbusters largely sitting out 2020, revenues for the company fell 77.3% to $1.2 billion, down from $5.5 billion in 2019.
For the most recent financial quarter, AMC Entertainment’s revenues fell 88% to $162.5 million, down from $1.4 billion in the year-ago period. The company’s losses for the three-month period ending in December topped out at $946.1 million, down from a loss of $13.5 million in the year-ago period. AMC also reported a loss of $3.15 per share compared to a 35-cent loss per share in the same period in 2020.
Wall Street has expected the theater company to lose $3.21 per share on revenue of $156.3 million. Shares of AMC climbed more than 6% in after-hours trading after the company beat revenue projections.
AMC was forced to close all of its roughly 1,000 theaters last spring and furlough or lay off thousands of workers as the pandemic raged. The company has slowly reopened since last summer, but major studios have delayed many of their biggest releases until later in the year or 2022 in the hopes of outrunning the public health crisis.
There has been some positive news, however. Movie theaters in New York City reopened last Friday and cinemas in Los Angeles are expected to be able to welcome back customers by the end of the week. AMC is currently operating 527 of its 589 domestic locations and 78 of its 356 international venues, although some of these theaters are operating at reduced capacity because of the pandemic.
“This past year has presented AMC with the most challenging market conditions in the 100-year history of the company. 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,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “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.”
AMC seemed to be on the brink of insolvency at several points during the past year. However, Aron was able to renegotiate the company’s debt, which prevented bankruptcy.