Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. rose Monday, along with shares of other movie theater operators, after a strong Easter weekend box office highlighted by the success of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” gave investors reason to cheer .
A strong weekend debut from Amazon Studio’s “Air” and Walt Disney Co.’s DIS announcement also helped boost sentiment.
Lucasfilm announced three new live-action “Star Wars” movies on Friday, though release dates were not revealed.
AMC of AMC,
Shares jumped 8.4% to a one-month high in late afternoon after the company said, “It’s a ‘SUPER’ Easter weekend for AMC theaters in the US.” The stock has soared 35.8% amid a three-day winning streak that began after it closed at a three-month low of $3.91 on April 4.
CMCSA of Comcast Corp.,
Universal Pictures and Illumination’s “Super Mario Bros. Movie” earned $146.36 million over the Easter weekend in the U.S., according to Box Office Mojo, enough to make it the biggest premiere so far this year. It grossed $204.63 million in the five days since it opened last Wednesday.
“This easily beat their lofty box office projections, which had predicted the family-friendly film would gross around $140 million,” Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey wrote in a note to clients.
AMC said its US theaters set an attendance record for an Easter weekend, with 3.6 million viewers over the past three days. And AMC enjoyed two of its three biggest grossing days since its theaters reopened in the summer of 2020 after being closed by the pandemic, with Saturday marking the highest-grossing day since reopening .
In addition to “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Air,” the company said the box office was bolstered by “strong leftovers” from “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” and “John Wick: Chapter 4.”
Combined with food and beverage revenue, the company posted an “all-time high” in revenue over an Easter weekend.
“The success of ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ is another shining example of America’s moviegoers’ desire to come to the movies to be entertained,” said Adam Aron, chief executive of AMC.
Meanwhile, shares of cinema operator Cinemark Holdings Inc. CNC,
rose 6.7%, to its highest close since August 2022.
The company said April 8 saw its highest attendance day since Christmas Day 2019 and that in the first few months of this year box office performance has “scattered” beyond expectations .
Cinemark chief executive Sean Gamble said “2023 movies are off to an outstanding start and we’re delighted that consumers will experience an increasing volume of highly anticipated films over the coming months.”
IMAX by Imax Corp.,
Shares rose 3.2%, putting them on track for their highest close since March 2022.
With “Super Mario” bringing in $16.6 million in North America, this was the biggest Imax opening weekend ever for an animated film and mark the first animated debut in 22 international markets.
“Illumination and Universal did an excellent job launching this new franchise, building on the huge momentum we’re seeing at the global box office as we head into a very promising summer blockbuster season,” said CEO from Imax, Rich Gelfond.
With first-quarter domestic box office beating projections, B. Riley analyst Eric Wold reiterated his buy rating on Cinemark stock and raised his price target from $15 to $20. Wold also maintained its buy rating on Imax and raised its price objective on the stock to $26 from $23, and maintained its neutral rating and $4.50 price target on shares of ‘AMC.
AMC shares are up 30.5% year to date, Cinemark shares have soared 87.5% and Imax shares are up 39.5%, while the S&P 500 SPX,
has achieved 6.7%.