Theater chain AMC beats revenue estimates, expects weaker second quarter

Theater chain AMC beats revenue estimates, expects weaker second quarter

By Akash Sriram

(Reuters) -AMC Entertainment on Wednesday beat estimates for first-quarter revenue, but the world’s largest theater chain said the current quarter could be weaker than a year ago as strikes delayed the release of movies.

While the second quarter’s box office will be stronger than the first three months of the year, it will be impacted by the strikes of last year and will fall significantly below the same quarter a year ago, CEO Adam Aron said in a conference call with analysts.

Shares of the Leawood, Kansas-based company fell 2% in trading after the bell.

AMC said it raised $124.1 million by selling 38.5 million shares in the current quarter and reduced debt principal by $17.5 million in the first quarter, by exchanging 2.5 million shares.

“AMC’s retail investors typically don’t like to hear AMC say that they plan to issue more shares for its debt-reduction efforts, as it dilutes their holdings,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Alicia Reese.

The company reported largely flat quarterly revenue growth, cushioned by March launches of movies such as the fourth sequel of “Kung Fu Panda” and the second installment of the star-studded science fiction epic “Dune”, featuring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya.

AMC turned to alternative content to push ticket sales as production halts due to the dual strikes of writers and actors delayed the launch of a slate of movies this year.

The company said in January that pop star Taylor Swift’s “The Era’s Tour” concert film had earned more than $261.6 million globally, becoming the top grossing concert film or documentary ever.

Revenue for the first quarter stood at $951.4 million, down from $954.4 million, a year ago. Analysts expected revenue of $871 million, according to LSEG data.

AMC’s net loss narrowed to $163.5 million in the quarter ended March 31, from $235.5 million, a year ago.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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