AMC Entertainment shares were up more than 16% in midday trading in the midst of an aggressive rally powered by Gozilla Vs. Kong‘s $285 million global box office that “destroys lingering concerns around theatrical window importance and demonstrates a solid path to resurgence,” according to one Wall Street analyst.
In a note early Monday, Eric Wold of B Riley slapped a “buy” rating on the stock and raised his price target to $13 from $7. The shares were changing hands at over $11 fueled not by Reddit weirdness this time around but concrete evidence of pent-up demand for the big screen that movie chains and supporters have predicted throughout the pandemic. (Retail traders egged on by Reddit chatroom WallStreetBets had bid the stock past $20 to an all-time high earlier this year.)
Imax, Cinemark and National CineMedia also popped, up 4%, 5.2% and 2.9% respectively. Marcus nosed up 4.2%.
All are well outperforming an already upbeat market. The epic monster mash-up garnered $48.5 million domestically even with capacity restrictions of 25% to 50% in key movie markets and even as the film — from Warner Media and Legendary Entertainment — was available for free at-home streaming to HBO Max subscribers.
Imax in North America contributed $4.5million in domestic box office revenues, or 9.3% of the film’s overall opening weekend performance, from well under 1% of screens.
Among major indexes, the DJIA was up more than 400 points, or 1.21%. The Nasdaq had moved 1.34% higher and the S&P 500 by 1.41%.
With U.S. financial markets closed Friday for Easter, today was a first reaction to a jobs report that showed hiring surged in March as an economic recovery accelerated. U.S. air travel also picked up dramatically — on Friday, it set a pandemic-era record with TSA screening more than 1.5 million people at airports.
So the response to questions like whether people will head back to theaters or airplanes anytime soon appears to be — yes.