Shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC) - Get Report jumped higher on Wednesday following the movie theater chain’s announcement that it will reopen 70% of its theaters for the highly anticipated big-screen premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood film, “Tenet.”
AMC stock was up more nearly 20% in morning trading after it said it will reopen 140 additional theaters by Sept. 4. The majority of the theaters will reopen the day before to coincide with the first showings of “Tenet,” a $200 million action-thriller about avoiding World War III, and the second post-pandemic movie release of the year.
The first in-theater release, Russell Crowe’s road-rage thriller “Unhinged,” came out last weekend to decent reviews but only $4 million in box-office sales , a paltry number but a sign for executives and others that moviegoers are willing to venture out to watch a movie on the big screen.
Still, even with additional theaters being reopened with extra health and safety protocols, questions remain about the vitality of the movie industry business model, in particular its long-standing practice of releasing films to theaters like AMC first.
Indeed, the pandemic and subsequent shutdown has put movie-theater operators in a dark space financially, not only due to sudden and massive losses in revenue but also due to the runoff effect of more people streaming content directly.
AMC and Comcast (CMCSA) - Get Report-owned Universal Pictures got into a war of words and legalities back in April after Universal opted to bypass theaters outright with the release of its “Trolls: World Tour” animated movie.
More telling will be how Disney’s (DIS) - Get Report mega-budget movie “Mulan” does. The live-action blockbuster will also be released on Sept. 4, though directly through Disney’s Disney+ streaming channel.
To be sure, Leawood, Kan.-based AMC is not going down without a fight. The company has been busy promoting already released films like "Spiderman," "Jurassic Park" and "Rocky" at discounted prices, and is heavily promoting upcoming blockbuster releases including “Wonder Woman” and James Bond's "No Time to Die."
Shares of AMC were up 12.03% at $6.80 in trading on Wednesday.