Shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE:AMC) were cooling off today as domestic box office receipts declined this weekend from the prior one and as ticket sales for Walt Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) Black Widow tumbled in its second weekend in theaters, which could show the impact of the Marvel movie’s simultaneous release on Disney+. In fact, the movie theater industry lobbying group took a swipe at the strategy.
As a result, AMC stock was down 9.8% as of 10:11 a.m. EDT.
Total domestic box office receipts came in at $92.7 million with Space Jam: A New Legacy topping the list with $31.7 million in sales. That was down 22% from the previous weekend when Black Widow topped the list, and still substantially below pre-pandemic levels in 2019 when box office weekend sales averaged close to $200 million through July.
Additionally, Black Widow sales fell sharply from the first weekend, down 67% to $26.3 million, the worst ever second-weekend drop for a Marvel Comics Universe title.
In a press release, the National Association of Theatre Owners also slammed Disney’s “day-and-date” release strategy, saying that Disney+’s Premier Access, which allowed subscribers to pay $30 to watch Black Widow, is not newfound money, “but was pulled forward from a more traditional [premium video on demand] window, which is no longer an option.”
The debate over Hollywood’s windowing policy, or the amount of time theaters get exclusivity, will endure, and it’s unclear what Disney’s long-term strategy will be, as it’s called the simultaneous releases a COVID-19 experiment.
However, movie theaters are lagging behind other entertainment options like restaurants and travel in their recovery, and the ability to watch blockbusters like Black Widow at home clearly poses a challenge for AMC and its peers.
Considering the entertainment stock is already grossly overvalued, it’s not surprising to see a pullback today.
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