AMC Entertainment (Theatres)

AMC Entertainment (Theatres)

AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (formerly AMC Theatres) is one of the largest movie theater chains in the United States. Also, it is the only one of North America’s 12 major movie theater chains that did not go bankrupt during the recession in the sector between 2001 and 2002.

It was known as Durwood Theatres between 1920 and 1960, named after its founder Edward Durwood. It was not until 1960 that it took its current name.

In January 2006, Loews Cineplex was acquired by AMC Theatres. And in May 2012, the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group bought AMC.

General information
Name AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.
Former name AMC Theatres
Creation date 1920
Founder Edward Durwood
Stock New York Stock Exchange (AMC)
Slogan Experience the Difference
Headquarters Leawood (Kansas)
United States
CEO Adam Aron (since 2016)
Activity Entertainment (movie theaters)
Workforce 33,694 (December 2022)
Legal status Public Company
Turnover US$3.91 billion (2022)
Net profit US$−0.97 billion (2022)
Previous company Loews Cineplex

History of AMC Theatres

The company was founded in 1920 by former traveling artist Edward Durwood with a single-screen movie theater in Kansas City, Missouri. At a time when American vaudevilles were on the decline, Durwood rightly converted to films that he saw as the future of the entertainment industry. His small single-screen cinema chain had mixed success.

But his son Stanley, who had graduated from Harvard University and served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, regained control of Durwood Theatres in 1960. He renamed the family company American Multi-Cinema and began applying the management concepts he had learned. He revolutionized the cinema industry. As he later explained in Variety: “We had to define what our society was doing in the world (of representation). My father wasn’t that organized.”

The 1960s to 1990s: The complex revolution

AMC opened the first American cinema complex (consisting of two theaters) in 1963 in Kansas City. Durwood later recounted that “in 1962 he stood in the lobby of his 600-seat theater, the Roxy in Kansas City, grumbling about his low profitability when he realized he could double his offering by adding a second screen and keeping the same crew.” It was followed in 1966 by a four-room and a six-room in 1969.

AMC was also a pioneer in opening the first American megaplex with the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas, Texas in 1995. But the “invention” of these complexes of more than twenty screens is due to the Belgian chain Kinepolis with the Kinepolis Madrid (25 screens) in 1988.

AMC was one of the great pioneers in terms of improvements in the standards of audience comfort in the film industry. It was the first to install cup holders in the armrests of armchairs and to build halls with a stadium layout (with bleachers). This latest improvement has allowed AMC to become a prime target for lawsuits launched by activists who want to defend people with reduced mobility. AMC has also had its share of failures, such as microwave popcorn instead of traditional machines or 16mm films.

The year 2000: An expanding multinational

In November 1999, AMC set up in the North of France, in Dunkirk: AMC Marine 20.

In March 2002, the company acquired General Cinemas Companies, adding 621 screens to its U.S. network.

Also, in 2002, she purchased Gulf States Theatres, adding 68 venues in the New Orleans area.

In late 2003, it acquired MegaStar Theatres, theaters in the Atlanta area and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

AMC Entertainment announced on June 21, 2005, its intention to merge with New York-based Loews Cineplex Entertainment, formerly owned by a group of investors consisting of Bain Capital, Carlyle Group and Spectrum Equity. AMC also has theatres in Canada that are ranked third behind Cineplex Entertainment and Empire Theatres. Due to a possible monopoly, the decision to merge was suspended by the US authorities. They ruled on January 26, 2006, in favor of AMC Theatres, which took control of Loews. The majority of the rooms have been renamed.

In May 2012, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group bought AMC for $2.6 billion.

After, in March 2016, AMC announced the $1.1 billion acquisition of Carmike, a competing movie theater chain that owns 276 theaters while AMC owns 387. In July 2016, AMC announced the acquisition of Odeon & UCI Cinemas, a British cinema management company with 242 cinemas, for £921 million, the equivalent of $1.21 billion.

In April 2020, news of a potential bankruptcy of GAC resurfaced. But by the end of January 2021, the firm said it had raised $917 million, stating that “any discussion of an imminent bankruptcy of AMC is no longer on the agenda.”

A few days after this announcement, AMC’s stock price skyrocketed. Listed at $ 2 at the beginning of the year following the Covid-19 pandemic, it is propelled to nearly $ 20 at the end of January, carried by the stock market of the subreddit WallStreetBets. The latter seek to buy massively sold short shares, in order to cause a forced liquidation of short squeeze positions. Another goal is to attack hedge fund firms, which bet downward on companies in difficulty. In the wake of the GameStop affair, AMC is considered a “meme stock“, in the same way as GameStop, BlackBerry, Nokia or Bed Bath & Beyond: extremely volatile stocks, massively supported by smallholders and source of memes from WallStreetBets.

As a result of this rally, the stock fell back to $5.50 on February 9. The reopening of theaters in the United States and the release of blockbusters like Godzilla vs Kong allows AMC’s stock to rise between 10 and 14 dollars. Taking advantage of its good form, AMC announces to bail itself out via the stock market by offering more shares on the market. It also triggers the arrival of new short positions and the sale of shares by some shareholders, judging the stock overvalued. This pushes smallholders to make a new rally on AMC, pushing the stock from $ 19 on May 26 to more than $ 64 on June 2.

Shareholders of AMC

List of major shareholders as of May 4, 2022:

Shareholder %
The Vanguard Group 8,87 %
SSgA Funds Management 2,57 %
BlackRock Fund Advisors 2,53 %
Mudrick Capital Management 1,77 %
Geode Capital Management 1,77 %
Greenvale Capital 1,68 %
Northern Trust Investments (Investment Management) 1,12 %
D.E. Shaw & Co 0,97 %
Renaissance Technologies 0,91 %
Charles Schwab Investment Management 0,51 %

Wanda Group controlled the group through its Class B shares with higher voting rights. Wanda sold its entire stake in AMC in May 2021.

The most important AMC cinemas

AMC Empire 25 in New York
AMC Empire 25 in New York

AMC has many cinemas but some are strategically placed.

  • AMC Grand 24 from Dallas, Texas first megaplex in 1995.
  • AMC Empire 25 in Times Square

The Walt Disney Company is home to three AMC cinemas:

  • AMC West Side 24 at Walt Disney World Resort Downtown Disney West Side
  • AMC Disneyland 12 in the Downtown Disney of Disneyland Resort
  • AMC Ikspiari 16 at Ikspiaridu Tokyo Disney Resort

Others host an impressive number of rooms, more than 30.

The only AMC complex in France was located in Dunkirk and had 20 and then 14 rooms. Wishing to leave its European locations, AMC Dunkirk was sold to Ociné.

References (sources)