AMC theaters CEO: Movie-going is coming back

Nation's largest movie theater chain now operating most of its nearly 600 US locations

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Adam Aron said he is optimistic for the coming months, reporting Thursday that the theater chain drew roughly seven million moviegoers in the first quarter.

"We finally can now say that we are looking at an increasingly favorable environment for moviegoing and for AMC as a company over the coming few months," Mr. Aron said in prepared remarks, citing in part  Covid-19 vaccinations and new movie releases..

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AMC said Thursday that as of the end of last month, it was operating most of its nearly 600 U.S. locations. About 110 of its over 350 international locations were in operation as well. The company reported 6.8 million attendees for the quarter, 6.2 million of whom were in U.S. markets.

For the fourth quarter, which typically gets a boost from holiday moviegoing, the chain reported about eight million guests.

AMC’s loss attributable to the company was $566.9 million, compared with a loss of $2.18 billion a year earlier. The company posted a per-share loss of $1.42, compared with $20.88 a share a year earlier. Its revenue for the quarter fell 84% to $148.3 million.

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AMC released preliminary results for the quarter late last month.

In New York City, a big market for the movie theater business, theaters were allowed to reopen at limited capacity in early March, but their capacity is limited. By July 1, they can fully reopen in the city. California, another key market, is aiming to fully reopen in mid-June.

The company’s first-quarter results come after a tough 2020 where the movie-theater chain’s financials were slammed by the pandemic. Last year, revenue fell 77% and the company reported a $4.59 billion loss. The company almost had to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection because of the pandemic.