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Amid AMC stock slump, CEO decries 'twisted conspiracy theorists'

After a tough year for AMC stock, CEO Adam Aron looks to be starting the New Year coming out swinging against the trolls and haters on social media.

"So much GARBAGE info spreading about AMC by twisted conspiracy theorists," Aron said in a tweet on New Year's Day to his nearly 285,000 followers. "Our REAL challenge (among others): the industrywide domestic box office $11.4 billion in 2019 pre-pandemic. Only $7.4 billion in 2022. Up 64% above ‘21, but 35% below ‘19. Our view: it grows in ‘23 & ‘24."

The volatile AMC stock finished last year down 85%.

2022 was a challenging year for the movie theater giant as consumers balked at rising ticket prices and numerous lame flicks while choosing to stream more content on the likes of Netflix.

Comscore projects the U.S. box office ended 2022 hauling in $7.2 billion, down from $11 billion in 2019 (pre-pandemic). The weak box office hit AMC's financials hard while also causing the bankruptcy of rival Cineworld in September.

Through the first nine months of last year, AMC lost 56 cents a share on an adjusted earnings basis.

Experts expect a bounce-back in the box office this year led by top draws such as Creed 3.

"The good news is for 2023 is that there's more movies more often," Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). "The issue with 2022 is that we are going to wind up with about 40 — count them, 40 fewer wide-release films. If each one of those, let's say made $40 or $50 million, we wouldn't be looking at a $7.5 billion year projected by Comscore for 2022, but closer to $9.5 billion year. But 2023 has so many great movies on tap."

The box office of the AMC theatre is pictured during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Burbank, California, U.S., June 30, 2020. Picture taken June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
The box office of the AMC theatre is pictured during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Burbank, California, U.S., June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

To shore up finances, AMC undertook a slew of transactions — from creating special preferred shares called $APE to raising $110 million in new equity capital through the sale of those APE shares to proposing a reverse stock split.

Aron also pushed back on the view that AMC is diluting shareholder value to stay afloat.

"Some of you misguidedly protest against dilution," Aron added in his latest tweet storm. "When industry demand is off a whopping 35%, companies that do not raise fresh capital run out of cash and go broke. Cineworld/Regal in bankruptcy court right now. Not us! We know what we are doing. Looking out for your interests!"

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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