AMC Entertainment Shares Suffer As Overall Box Office Comparisons Slump

After a rocky end to the summer movie season, analysts at Wedbush Securities, led by Michael Pachter, lowered their third-quarter box office estimates to up 3.6% compared with last year, from up 6%. While the strength of films such as "Minions," from Comcast Corp.'s Universal Studios and "Mission: Impossible--Rogue Nation," from Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, helped push July's box office revenue up 22% compared with July last year, August revenue was down 17.3%. This was mainly due to tough year-over-year comparisons because Walt Disney Co.'s "Guardians of the Galaxy" topped charts last year. September is trending well so far, but Pachter wrote in a recent note that there are difficult weekly comparisons ahead. He said he expects the box office to decrease slightly through the rest of the third quarter. Pachter said in his note that AMC Entertainment Holdings is likely to underperform it peers through Q3, but outperform in Q4 as the slate of Imax films strengthens. As Imax and other premium large format screens drive average ticket revenue, Pachter noted that AMC is "heavily reliant" on those premium priced screens. Shares of AMC dropped more than 5% Tuesday, and are down 1.2% in 2015. The S&P is down more that 5%.

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