Cinema stocks weren’t buzzworthy until 2021 when movie theater chain AMC Entertainment (NYSE:AMC) became a target of Reddit traders. Once they took hold of AMC stock, all bets were off and the share price soared.
Indeed, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to call 2021 the “Year of the Meme Stock.” Yet, will this wild phenomenon last forever?
Probably not. Retail crowds are fickle, and while they might target AMC stock now, they could quickly shift their attention to another shiny object.
What this means is that investors should find others reasons to hold shares. A famous family-friendly entertainment company could provide some motivation — no memes required.
A Closer Look at AMC Stock
There’s a part of the AMC stock story I feel isn’t covered often enough…
Yes, AMC stock was battered at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the share price was already on a prolonged decline prior to that event. In fact, the stock had topped out around $35 in December 2016. And before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19, the share price was already down to around $7.
The pre-Covid-19 decline in AMC stock was, most likely, due to the ever-growing popularity of digital-content streaming. In any case, the share price slumped even further as the world locked down.
AMC stock fell below $2 in March 2020. By June of that year, shares managed to get back above $7, only to crater again, bottoming out below $2 on the second trading day of 2021. Then, in late January, an unexpected/miraculous event took place.
Reddit traders (and other retail participants) bid AMC stock up, sending it to a short-term high of $20.36. The same thing happened again in June when another apparent short squeeze took shares to an all-time high of $72.62.
Since then, AMC stock has pulled back to around $44. Now, investors are left wondering if they can count on social media traders to continue to prop up the share price. Or, just maybe, there is a more sensible reason to stay invested.
Family-Friendly Fare Dominates
Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and its stock struggled during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic as fewer people attended Disney’s theme parks and some were even forced to close temporarily. Luckily, the company made the smart move of shifting its focus to Disney+, its popular streaming service.
Disney has also continued to do well at the box office. Recently, Disney’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was the U.S.’s top-grossing film for a second consecutive week, bringing in $35 million. That’s on top of the more than $75 million it grossed on its opening weekend, which made it the second-best opening of any film in the pandemic era.
What film holds the No. 1 spot, you ask? Well, that would be Disney’s Black Widow, which grossed $80 million on its opening weekend in July.
The point here is that family-friendly films can get the whole family out of the house and into movie theaters. That’s bullish for Disney and for movie theater operators like AMC.
Disney to the Rescue?
Disney said it has plans in place for exclusive theatrical release windows, ranging from 30 to 45 days, for the remainder of its 2021 slate of films. It’s a savvy move. Disney will profit from the theatrical releases and then bring the films to Disney+.
“As confidence in moviegoing continues to improve, we look forward to entertaining audiences in theaters, while maintaining the flexibility to give our Disney+ subscribers the gift of Encanto this holiday season,” said Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Chairman Kareem Daniel in a press release.
I’m sure Encanto will be a wonderful film, but the headline for investors is that this entertainment exec said “confidence in moviegoing continues to improve.”
That should be encouraging to investors in AMC stock. And with Disney committing to exclusive theatrical release windows, AMC and its shareholders should reap the benefits.
The Bottom Line on AMC Stock
The meme-stock phenomenon has created interesting and unexpected moves in some otherwise largely ignored stocks. AMC is a perfect example of this.
While this phenomenon may not last, Disney’s recent moves have provided a real-world bullish case for AMC stock. So, hopefully, shareholders won’t need to pray for a Reddit pump now.
On the date of publication, David Moadel did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
David Moadel has provided compelling content – and crossed the occasional line – on behalf of Crush the Street, Market Realist, TalkMarkets, Finom Group, Benzinga, and (of course) InvestorPlace.com. He also serves as the chief analyst and market researcher for Portfolio Wealth Global and hosts the popular financial YouTube channel Looking at the Markets.