AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) is making news again. For most of 2021, that has been a signal to the loyal AMC shareholders to send the stock to the moon. However, so far it looks like AMC stock is remaining relatively tame. That seems reasonable to me, but I’ll let you decide.
On Nov. 1, the company announced that its October ticket admission revenues were the highest for any single month since February 2020. As someone who is rooting for a strong economy, I celebrate that news. But I’m not sure it changes the narrative for AMC stock.
AMC Shareholders Face Tough Math
Revenue at the end of the company’s most recent quarter was $444.7 million. That was a home run compared to 2020. But it’s a far cry from the $1.2 billion it earned in the first quarter of 2019 or the $1.44 billion it earned in the same quarter in 2018. But to be fair, AMC is doing an exceptional job at improving its earnings outlook. And the company’s debt looks very manageable in the short term.
But does that mean AMC stock should be valued at over $40 a share? At the end of February 2020, AMC stock had a closing price of $6.26. That’s above the level of a penny stock, but it was over 50% lower than the end of February 2019.
Sigh. I know the diamond hands that are holding AMC don’t care. But the economy of 2018 and 2019 was firing on all cylinders. And AMC stock was falling for many reasons. Streaming had something to do with it. However, like e-commerce, streaming has become more pervasive not less. And the nation appears to be recovering from a public health crisis that may permanently change individual’s feelings about sitting in a theater for two hours.
Will Cryptocurrency Capture the Coveted Consumers?
In other news, AMC is polling retail investors and inquiring whether the company should add Shiba Inu (CCC:SHIB-USD) to the list of cryptocurrencies the company is planning to accept as payment. This news is potentially more bullish for holders of AMC stock. By accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment, the theater chain is betting on the coveted millennial and Gen-Z consumers.
Sadly, I can say that even if they did own Dogecoin (CCC:DOGE-USD), my kids would almost rather be anywhere but a movie theater. It’s simply not what they (or their friends) do. That’s one reason I believe if AMC thinks that declining attendance is due to a payment method, they’re missing the plot.
The Future of AMC Stock Remains Unclear
On its most recent earnings call in August, AMC chief executive officer Adam Aron fired up his shareholders (and scolded writers like me) by saying that the company is determined to prove the “conventional wisdom … wrong.” I’m not a shareholder so I hope for the “apes” who do own AMC that Aron is right. Personally, I love going to the movies and always have.
But my experience pre-pandemic was one of dwindling attendance. I don’t see that changing.
My opinion of AMC stock is solely tied to my belief in the future of the cinema experience. With that in mind, I regard the return of cinema viewers as the low-hanging fruit that was to be expected. Like cruise ships, airplanes and hotels, many people didn’t choose to stop going to the movies. The option was not available to them. It is logical to expect them to return.
At the same time, it’s too early to tell whether the cinema chain is attracting some “new” customers who had previously decided that the cinema experience is not for them. When I see evidence that is happening and is sticky, I’ll be more bullish. Until then, I salute the apes, but am staying away from AMC stock.
On the date of publication, Chris Markoch did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Chris Markoch is a freelance financial copywriter who has been covering the market for seven years. He has been writing for InvestorPlace since 2019.