During a one-hour earnings call full of enough plot twists that it belonged in an AMC theatre, the company’s chief executive Adam Aron was more unequivocal than ever on his stance that retail investors holding a massive amount of the company’s stock are dictating its corporate future.
To that end, Aron opened his remarks by thanking his “individual investors” and went on to lay out a modern and bold plan for AMC’s future that looked less like something from a “Six Sigma” management philosophy and more like a Reddit-fueled fever dream of corporate governance.
Touting the $1.8 billion “war chest of equity capital” that Reddit’s “Apes” have bequeathed him 20 months after his business was essentially flattened by the COVID 19 pandemic, Aron spent almost the entirety of the earnings call with analysts mulling over all the things that he and his Ape bosses want to do, and pretty much ignored the analysts.
What is that next level of “thinking outside the box” that AMC will deploy to build on a box office business, which AMC’s results showed was back to 46% from the same period in pre-pandemic 2019? Well, according to Aron, it will be a meme stock fritto misto of “Popcorn, cryptocurrencies, and non-fungible tokens.”
We won’t go too deep on the popcorn as Aron’s comments on the call just reinforced our opinion that everyone’s favorite movie snack food is as much kink as it is a business plan at this point.
But Aron did make huge waves disclosing that, in addition to taking major cryptocurrencies —as well as Dogecoin
and Shiba Inu— in Q1 2022, AMC is in discussions to launch its own crypto.
This AMC-backed digital currency would obviously be called “PopCoin” or what are we even doing here?
Aron went on to gossip that AMC has been in talks with “Major Hollywood studios” on doing NFTs centered on big movies. But since only one analyst asked only one question, with AMC deciding to answer anonymous, pre-submitted questions from retail investors instead, not much more was revealed about those plans.
Although, Aron did take a thinly-veiled swipe at analysts (and other forces) he claims don’t want AMC to succeed, while also trying to wipe away any concerns about AMC’s debt load, by pointing everyone’s attention to the future, calling any focus on AMC’s debt “FUD,” a social media term for “fear, uncertainty and doubt” that is often used to identify haters.
AMC stock was down as much as 6% in after-hours trading, but it would be very unsurprising if AMC’s Apes see the overnight fallback as a discount at Tuesday’s opening bell.
If one should take anything away from AMC’s third-quarter, other than the pandemic’s impact on the company’s bottom line seems to be receding, it’s that Adam Aron knows who has the company’s leash and he’s willing to lead by following.
And also, he loves movies.
“I got to see the new “Ghostbusters” movie,” Aron crowed at the end of the call, before the sound of his hands clapping could be heard on the phone line. “You guys have GOT to go see the new “Ghostbusters” movie.”