AMC Entertainment has reported mixed fourth-quarter results, which saw revenues rise 2.4% to $1.45 billion, despite a 4.4% drop in U.S. attendance to 62.3 million.
The exhibitor, owned by Dalian Wanda Group, announced a fourth-quarter loss of $13.5 million, compared to a year-earlier profit of $170.6 million, due to $84.3 million of expense related to impairments of “long-lived assets.”
The company’s announcement, released after the stock market closed, also said it posted record food and beverage revenues per patron in the U.S. and international markets. AMC said its Stubs A-List subscription service, launched in 2018 in response to MoviePass, has more than 900,000 members. MoviePass went out of business last month.
AMC president and CEO Adam Aron said, “These impressive results illustrate the power of customer engagement through the AMC platform, especially from our A-List subscription program and AMC Stubs loyalty program in the U.S., returns from our industry-leading recliner seating investments both in the U.S. and overseas, as well as the strength of our diversified geographic footprint.”
The results were released in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic forcing the closure of cinemas in China and Italy. Aron addressed the impact of the disease on AMC and noted that it has closed 22 of its 47 theaters in Italy, but does not have any operations in Asia, where the epidemic has been most prevalent.
“The economic impact has been minimal,” Aron said. “So far so good.”
Aron said he believes that forecasts of an ongoing decline in the domestic box office are wrong. He also reiterated that the epidemic will probably not hurt AMC, adding, “Right now, AMC is in a very good place. Let’s hope it stays that way.”
AMC Entertainment also cut its dividend by 85% and announced a $200 million stock buyback. Shares were up 59 cents, or 8%, to $6.59 in after-hours trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
AMC is the largest movie exhibition company in the world, with approximately 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens.