AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the world’s largest theater chain, is exploring the creation of its own cryptocurrency in a fresh nod to the meme investors who have sent its stock soaring over 2,000% this year.
The company is also talking with Hollywood studios about creating commemorative nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, related to major films.
“This is the 21st century after all,” Chief Executive Officer Adam Aron said Monday on a call with investors after reporting third-quarter results.
With AMC’s shares surging thanks to an army of day-trading small investors, Aron has seized on the company’s sudden popularity. He’s engaged with shareholders on social media, polled them for new business ideas and last week said he’ll sell popcorn-to-go from mall-based stores.
The Leawood, Kansas-based-based company started accepting cryptocurrency for gift cards and is working on taking the payments on its website and mobile app, Aron said. AMC previously said it would take Bitcoin and Ethereum by year-end. Now it’s working to process Dogecoin and is exploring accepting Shiba Inu, too.
Shares of AMC slumped as much as 6.7% to $42.06 in extended trading.
Investors may have zeroed in on a couple shortcomings in AMC’s quarterly results, according to Alicia Reese, an analyst at Wedbush Securities. Its domestic market share declined in the third quarter after gains in the first half of the year, she said.
AMC reported an adjusted third-quarter loss of $5.4 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Late last week, rival operator Cinemark Holdings Inc. posted positive results on that basis.
“Its domestic Ebitda is still trending negatively, offset by a strong performance and better profitability in its international markets,” Reese said in an email.
Theater owners are climbing out of a deep hole caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with fans reluctant to turn out and many newer movies available for streaming at home. Last week, Walt Disney Co. released a new Marvel movie that failed to meet conservative estimates tempered by COVID-19.
AMC’s third-quarter sales totaled $763.2 million, beating the $708.3 million average of analysts’ estimates. AMC posted a loss of 44 cents a share, excluding some items, better than analysts’ expectations for a 53-cent loss.
The revenue marked the best quarterly result since the first period of last year. Theaters are mostly reopened now following COVID-prompted closures. Still, movie attendance — while much improved — hasn’t returned to levels seen before March 2020.
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