Updated at 10:59 am EST
AMC Entertainment (AMC) shares powered higher Tuesday following a record-breaking Memorial Day weekend launch for Paramount's blockbuster 'Top Gun: Maverick' movie.
Comscore data showed Monday that Top Gun, directed by Joseph Kosinski and starring Tom Cruise in a reprisal his iconic 1986 role as Navy fighter pilot Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell, earned more than $153 million over the four-day weekend, a tally that both topped the previous record set by "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" in 2007 and smashed industry forecasts.
The Paramount Pictures film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, was originally slated for release in 2020 but premiered at Cannes earlier this month with Cruise, 59, receiving an honorary 'Palme d'Or' from the prestigious film festival.
AMC said more than 3.3 million guests watched the movie at one of its domestic cinemas, taking the four-day total to 5 million - more than double last year's 2.1 million tally.
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"Our sincerest congratulations to Tom Cruise and the entire creative and artistic team who have given us 'Top Gun: Maverick'," said CEO Adam Aron. "They have delivered a movie for the ages, and one that will be talked about with affection and even reverence for decades and decades to come. Tom Cruise continues to be one of theatrical exhibition’s greatest allies, and AMC is enormously grateful to him for his tireless and indefatigable efforts to support the cinema.”
“Similarly, a big salute to our friends at Paramount Pictures," he added. "They released a perfect movie and ensured it would be seen the world over in the way movies are meant to be seen: on the big screen with incredible picture quality and extraordinary sound.”
AMC shares were marked 2.9% higher in early Tuesday trading to change hands at $14.86 each, a move that would still leave the stock with a year-to-date decline of around 44%.
AMC posted a huge increase in first quarter ticket sales in early May, thanks in part to success of films such as The Batman" and "Spider-Man: No Way Home".
Revenues for the three months ending in March were pegged at $785.7 million, a more than four-fold increase from last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $743 million. The group also posted a narrower-than-expected first quarter loss of 52 cents per share.
"I saw the movie in a private screening for exhibitors a few weeks ago. It is just stunning," Aron told investors in early May. "In my view, it's a cinematic masterpiece, and oh, my, are we going to sell tickets for 'Top Gun: Maverick' at AMC."
"I really do think that among the biggest things we can do to ensure our relevance is to make sure that we have a steady parade and cavalcade of major movie titles with broad consumer appeal that are being released by studios," he added. "And we are absolutely committed to being innovators in theatrical exhibition, keeping the quality of our theaters high."