If there was any doubt that individual investors are a powerful new force on Wall Street, AMC Entertainment (AMC) CEO Adam Aron may have just put the doubters to rest.
The latest: During the company’s earnings call on Monday, Aron made it clear that he views retail investors as critical to the movie theater chain’s success through his choice of words — and outright flattery.
It’s not surprising, given that AMC — which had to close all of its theaters during the pandemic’s peak last year — has benefited greatly from the meme stock phenomenon, in which retail investors pour billions of dollars into often troubled businesses.
AMC Entertainment CEO Adam Aron at one of the company’s theaters in Leawood, Kansas.
“In short, AMC crushed it in Q2,” Aron said on the call, adopting the Reddit crowd’s lingo. Aron later mentioned that AMC has implemented some of the “great ideas” that individual investors have “showered” on it, such as screening professional sporting events and concerts.
He responded to a dozen or so questions from individual investors. “Can you guys make the AMC mascot officially a gorilla?,” Aaron asked, reflecting the tendency of Reddit investors to refer to each other as “apes.” “Would AMC ever consider reestablishing drive-in theaters?,” Ryan wanted to know.
Aron, on the other hand, only took questions from one analyst, down from about six a year ago, citing time constraints as the reason for the shortening.
The reaction: The stock rose nearly 9% in premarket trading on Monday. Following the event, AMC’s newest shareholders gushed about Aron’s performance on social media sites like Reddit. “Silverback Adam crushed the earnings call. If you’re “in this to win this”, you should listen to it,” wrote one observer on Twitter.
Individual investors are important, and businesses are embracing them for the right reasons.
Despite the fact that none of the analysts who cover the company recommend buying the stock and theater attendance remains far below pre-pandemic levels, AMC’s stock has risen over 1,500 percent this year and it was able to raise $587 million in June as meme traders piled in, the company was able to raise $587 million in June as meme traders piled in.
AMC announced that by the end of the year, it would begin rolling out technology that would allow moviegoers in the United States to pay for their tickets and snacks in bitcoin.
It’s also buying up American theaters and plans to open a dozen new ones this year in the US, Europe, and the Middle East, betting that once the pandemic passes, people will return to the movies.
“We fundamentally believe that ours is a future that is bright because there is nothing as magical as seeing dazzling images on a huge silver screen,” Aron said on the call.