AMC Entertainment shines when the lights go down. The company, whose initials once stood for American Multi-Cinema, is the #1 movie theater chain in the US and the world. It owns, partially owns, or operates about 660 theaters with 8,200 screens, most of which are in megaplexes (units with more than 12 screens and stadium seating). It also has a significant presence in Europe through London-based subsidiary Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group. AMC also owns about 25% of MovieTickets.com. Chinese investment firm Wanda Group bought AMC in 2012 and took the company public again in 2013. AMC acquired Odeon and Carmike in 2016, and has agreed to acquire Nordic Cinema Group, which will swell its total theater pool to over 1000.
AMC owns 152 IMAX screens and has a 44% IMAX market share, and 2,643 3D screens in the US. It has been rolling out plush reclining seats that provide greater comfort and better viewing angles, and operates 19 dine-in theaters with seat-side service.
AMC Entertainment has 660 theaters with 8,200 screens in the US, its largest market. It also has 243 theaters with 2,236 screens, via subsidiary Odeon, in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. Once the acquisition of Nordic Cinema Group is closed, it will have a further 68 theaters across Sweden, Norway, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
AMC is in good shape. In fiscal 2015 (ended December), AMC recorded revenue growth of 9% to $2.9 billion. Admissions and food and beverage revenue were both up by over $100 million, reflecting the success of the company's introduction of dining options. Net income climbed 63% to $103 million. AMC's cash position strengthened, with cash from operations climbing 57% to $467 million due to higher earnings and decreases in payments for film.
Chinese parent company Dalian Wanda's desire to be global cultural titan has driven AMC into an acquisition frenzy. In the space of four months it made three industry-shaking acquisitions. In November 2016 it acquired Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, a UK-based chain with a presence in Europe, for $1.2 billion. At the end of the year it acquired US rival Carmike for $1.1 billion, overtaking Regal Entertainment as the US's (and the world's) #1 cinema chain. And in early 2017 it announced an agreement to acquire Nordic Cinema Group, which has multiplexes across Scandinavia and the Baltics, for $929 million. After the acquisitions are sewn up, AMC will own over 1,000 multiplexes across the US and Europe.
Higher cinema prices and improved home cinema options have pushed AMC towards ramping up the quality of its multiplexes in order to stay ahead. It has been renovating its theaters, including improved sight and sound, but efforts have been led by the introduction of plush electric reclining seats that provide greater comfort and improved viewing angles. The reclining seats take up 60% more space than regular seats and thus each theater loses some two-thirds of its seating capacity. However, AMC has found, counter-intuitively, that attendance is up 75% due to the greater appeal of a luxury experience. Mid-week crowds up in particular. AMC freezes prices for the year after renovation in order to drive interest in the new format, increasing them thereafter. The company will be rolling out refitted theaters into its acquired Carmike mutiplexes.
AMC is also using enhanced food and beverage options to entice movie lovers. Its dine-in theaters combine the dinner and movie experience with full kitchen facilities, seat-side servers, and a separate bar and lounge area. The company has converted about a nearly 20 smaller theaters with the new dine-in theatre option. A secondary purpose behind the re-fit is to rejuvenate theaters approaching the end of their useful lives.
Mergers and Acquisitions
AMC acquired UK cinema company Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group for $1.21 billion from private equity firm Terra Firma in November 2016. Odeon & UCI is the UK's largest cinema chain, and brings with it 242 theaters with 2,236 screens.
In the same year it acquire one of its US rivals, Carmike, for $1.1 billion. Carmike has 271 locations.
And in January 2017, AMC reached an agreement to acquire Nordic Cinema Group, which brings with it 68 screens across Scandinavia and the Baltics. Nordic will be absorbed into Odeon & UCI.