2021 was the year of the meme stock, and of the most notable Reddit short-squeeze targets was global movie-theater chain AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC). And just as the meme-stock story arc played out, AMC stock soared high and crashed hard.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle as retail traders resuscitated AMC from the theater-clearing impact of the novel coronavirus. At the same time, the company also struggled amid the ever-growing popularity of digital-content streaming.
As investors transition into a new year, the new variants that continue to rear their head on the world reminds us all that the health crisis isn’t over yet. That said, this leaves open a crucial question. Will moviegoers return to fill brick-and-mortar theater seats again?
As always, we’ll avail ourselves of the data in pursuit of answers, or at least clues, to help us make informed investment decisions. So, sit back and enjoy the show as AMC could, once again, become a scene-stealer on Wall Street.
A Closer Look at AMC Stock
It seems like a lifetime ago, but AMC stock actually traded below $2 in early 2021. That, of course, was before the Reddit short-squeeze mob took over.
They bid the stock up to a short-term high of $20.36 in January 2021, and then to an all-time high of $72.62 in June. For a while, it felt as if the retail traders would vanquish the short-selling professionals.
By the end of the year, however, the sellers started to regain control of AMC stock as they pushed it below $30.
Consequently, investors are left wondering if they can count on social media traders to continue to prop up the share price.
Sitting around and hoping that Reddit comes to the rescue again, really isn’t a viable strategy. Instead, it’s more sensible to check the data and make your own informed decision.
Thankfully, recent developments suggest that a meaningful recovery is, indeed, in progress.
Still the Theater King
While Wall Street might obsess over streaming stars, investors shouldn’t dismiss AMC as an entertainment-market giant.
For one thing, AMC is the largest movie exhibition company in the U.S. It’s also the largest in Europe and throughout the world.
Across the globe, AMC Entertainment has approximately 950 theaters and 10,500 screens. If any company stands to benefit from the post-Covid-19 reopening, this is it.
Plus, through a strategy of strategic theater acquisitions, AMC is growing even bigger. For one thing, the company plans to commence operations at AMC Northridge Fashion Center 10 in California, in the spring of 2022.
Also during that time, AMC looks forward to starting operations at AMC Chicago 14 in Illinois.
Spider-Man to the Rescue
Moreover, AMC Entertainment Chairman and CEO Adam Aron touted his company’s recent acquisitions of AMC The Grove 14 and AMC Americana at Brand 18.
Those locations are “already showing their success,” Aron asserted. They “routinely finish in the top 10 theatres in box office performance among more than 150 theatres in the LA market, and in the top 30 in the entire United States,” the CEO added.
Furthermore, it appears that AMC may be gaining traction in terms of theater attendance numbers.
On Dec. 17, AMC reported that nearly 1.1 million people watched Spider-Man: No Way Home in its U.S. theaters. Apparently, that marked a record opening for a movie across the company’s theaters in December.
“This was the single highest number of people watching one movie on one day at AMC’s U.S. theaters during all of calendar years 2020 and 2021,” the company observed.
Not only that, but this Spider-Man movie was the second highest-grossing movie title on its opening night of all time.
The Bottom Line
Make no mistake about it. AMC stockholders still have a long road ahead of them.
As the coronavirus spreads, it will be a challenging task to get moviegoers back into theaters. Still, the recent Spider-Man movie numbers are encouraging.
When all is said and done, maybe AMC Entertainment won’t need Reddit, or even Spider-Man, to rescue the company. Through forward-thinking theater acquisitions, this embattled movie-theater giant could shake its meme status once and for all.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.