Analyst Says Buy AMC After 'Impressive' Weekend At The Box Office

Shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC) are on the rise on Monday as B. Riley Securities analyst Eric Wold upgraded the stock to Buy following the "impressive" domestic opening weekend box office performance for "Godzilla vs. Kong." The analyst remains "impressed" with AMC management's ability to weather the pandemic headwinds and believes consumers want to leave the house and return to the theater.

PANDEMIC-BEST OPENING: Legendary and AT&T (T) subsidiary Warner Bros.' "Godzilla vs. Kong" tallied a pandemic-best opening, grossing an estimated $48.5M in its first five days, including $32.2M for the three-day Easter weekend. The movie opened in over 3,000 theaters in North America, the most of any film during the pandemic. Overseas, "Godzilla vs. Kong" added an additional $71.6M to its box office haul, finishing the weekend with a foreign tally of $236.9M for a global total of $285.4M. "Godzilla vs. Kong" also launched on HBO Max, but viewership numbers were not made public.

'IMPRESSIVE' WEEKEND: B. Riley Securities analyst Eric Wold upgraded AMC Entertainment to Buy from Neutral with a price target of $13, up from $7, following the "impressive" opening weekend domestic box office performance for "Godzilla vs. Kong." Given that the North American theater base is only about 60% open at this point, with theater capacity restrictions averaging 25%-50% across the board, this weekend's results are impressive considering the prior film, "Godzilla: King of the Monsters," opened to only $47.8M back in May 2019, Wold told investors. The analyst believes consumers want to leave the house and return to the theater.

Further, Wold has "remained impressed" with AMC management's ability to weather the pandemic headwinds by both strengthening the balance sheet and negotiating with landlords to improve the cash runway into 2022. As the largest exhibitor in North America that also operates the highest number of premium Imax (IMAX) screens, AMC is well-positioned to benefit from the industry's "projected resurgence and return to pre-pandemic attendance levels by 2023," said the analyst. With management increasingly signaling the ability and willingness to utilize equity to reduce the debt load, Wold can "now be more constructive on the upside opportunity for the shares."

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