Barbenheimer Blowout Weekend, New Conversion Plan Send AMC Soaring

AMC Entertainment  (AMC) – Get Free Report shares soared higher Monday after summer blockbusters Barbie and Oppenheimer combined for the best box office weekend in four years and the movie theater chain revised plans for a controversial share conversion.

‘Barbie’, the Warner Bros. Discover  (WBD) – Get Free Report film about the eponymous Mattel  (MAT) – Get Free Report-made doll staring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, took in more than $155 million in U.S. and Canadian box office receipts from 4,243 locations over the weekend, according to Comscore data, as well as a studio-estimated $182 million in international markets.

Oppenheimer, a film about the making of the atomic bomb set at the tail end of the Second World War, generated around $80.5 billion, from 3,610 cinemas, in U.S. and Canada ticket sales on its debut weekend. The film was produced by Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast  (CMCSA) – Get Free Report.

An estimated 200,000 people, in fact, purchases tickets for both films on the same day, according to AMC Entertainment, which dubbed the double-header ‘Barbenheimer’.

Collectively, the box office tally was the highest since April of 2019, according to Comscore, when ‘Avengers: Endgame’ debuted in cinemas worldwide. So far this year, North American theaters have taken in $5.4 billion in box office receipts a 16% increase from the same period in 2022 but still around 19% shy of pre-pandemic highs.

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“This was a phenomenal experience for people who love movies on the big screen,” said National Association of Theatre Owners CEO Michael O’Leary. “It was a truly historic weekend and continues the positive box office momentum of 2023. More importantly, it proves once again that America loves going to the movies to see great films.” 

Separately, AMC CEO Adom Aron said Sunday that the group had filed new papers with the Delaware Chancery that could end litigation of a complex plan to convert preferred shares to common shares and allow the group to rase much-needed capital. 

My open letter message below to you all is on a subject of existential importance to AMC Entertainment shareholders. I urge you to read it. Adam Aron #AMCSurviveThenThrive

— Adam Aron (@CEOAdam) July 23, 2023

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AMC’s previous effort, which was challenged by common shareholders worried their holdings would be diluted, was denied by Delaware Vice Chancellor Morgan Zurn on Friday.  

Zurn said the deal, which protected common shareholders, could not be ratified as it did not included preferred shareholders, who were not represented in the suit.

AMC shares were marked 52.7% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $6.67 each. 

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