What’s going on with these movies?
Shares of publicly traded move chains fell sharply Monday while broader markets rose as Disney’s Black Widow helped drive the post (ish) pandemic box office to new highs but plenty of viewers siphoned off to Disney+, raising an alarm or at least a lot of questions.
AMC Entertainment, the biggest U.S. chain, saw its shares fall nearly 8% during the session. Cinemark, Marcus, Imax and National CineMedia dropped, respectively, 6.6%%, 3.5%, 3%, and 4.4%.
AMC, a meme stock that’s now owned by millions of individual investors, is extremely volatile but has been on clear downward trajectory lately, shedding $20 bucks since early June. CEO Adam Aron has embraced his new stockholders, who have a powerful megaphone on social media chat rooms. Their support buoyed the shares beyond any reasonable valuation from a 52-week low of $1.91 last year to a high of over $72.
AMC benefitted by selling stock at inflated prices to raise cash to keep the business running. Aron wants to sell more stock to raise more cash but recently agreed to scrap those plans as shareholders protested. More shares outstanding dilutes their position. Aron postponed the company’s annual stockholder meeting to July 29 to try to get them on board. Wall Street doesn’t generally love stock sales either, but in this case many think it would be a wise move for AMC in the current circumstances.
Overall revenue for the North American box office totaled $117 million for the weekend, the highest since President’s Day weekend in mid-February of 2020. Black Widow opened domestically at $80 million. But the gross dropped on Saturday from Thursday/Friday way more than usual for a Marvel title and the question is how much Disney+ Premier Access was behind that erosion.
Disney reported $60 million of revenue from its streaming platform — the first time its revealed these stats. “Disney is clearly pleased with this outcome, especially since it does not have to share any meaningful part of this income with partners,” said analyst Eric Handler of MKM Partners.
Specifically, as per Deadline, Black Widow‘s Saturday saw a huge 41% drop from its near $40M opening Friday (which included Thursday previews).
Disney stock closed up 4.15% Monday. The hybrid release was clearly a benefit but what remains to be seen the the impact on future downstream windows. Handler notes that some 2 million households — about 60-80 million people, he speculated — have already seen the movie at home.