AMC Theaters lost $4.6 billion in 2020, but its CEO isn’t worried

What just happened? The pandemic has decimated many industries, from the aviation and hospitality sectors right through to cruise lines, though few have felt the effects quite like cinema chains. AMC Theaters, for example, lost $4.59 billion in 2020, and its fourth-quarter revenue was down almost 90%, but its CEO is confident that things are about to get better.

In its full-year earnings report released Wednesday, AMC revealed it lost $4.59 billion last year, a stark contrast to the $149 million net loss it recorded in 2019. Yearly revenue was down to $1.24 billion, a 77% fall compared to the previous year.

The fourth-quarter results painted an even grimmer picture. Revenue was down 88 percent year over year, to $162.5 million. That beat estimates of $142.4 million, but AMC still lost $946 million during the quarter, dwarfing the $13.5 million it lost in Q4 2019.

This might sound like the writing is on the wall for AMC, but CEO Adam Aron isn’t worried. He points to the continuing vaccine rollout, theaters in New York and Los Angeles about to reopen, and the upcoming schedule of blockbuster movies such as Black Widow as lights at the end of the tunnel.

“Taking these facts together, we have reason to be optimistic about AMC’s ability to get to the other side of this pandemic,” Aron said. “Our focus is no longer on survival, but now has turned instead to directing a surge in movie-going and on the recovery of AMC.”

Another reason Aron sleeps well at night is the money AMC has been able to raise during the pandemic—it now has over $1 billion of cash in hand. Its stock price also got a boost when day traders belonging to a Reddit group bought stocks in companies expected to fail—as was the case with GameStop. AMC’s shares are up 365% so far this year.

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