AMC thanks Beyonce and Taylor Swift for ‘literally all’ of its revenue increase last quarter

Let’s hear it for the girls who run AMC Theatres’ world. Or at least account for “literally all” of the company’s revenue increase this quarter, according to CEO of AMC Theatres, Adam Aron.  

AMC attributed all of this quarter’s revenue increase to Taylor Swift and Beyonce, two powerful superstars who have taken their massive live concerts to the big screens–even as traditional cinema struggles. 

This quarter, the company beat Wall Street expectations with a fourth-quarter revenue of $1.10 billion, up from $990.9 million in 2022. Its saving grace, despite “a diminished box office overall” this quarter, Aron wrote in a press release, took the form of two concert movies the stars landed in partnership with AMC: “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” and “Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé.” 

Yet the company could still face a turbulent year ahead, according to market analysts, due to low box office revenue, heavy debt, and writer strikes that Aron said has “crippled” Hollywood. 

The theater chain reported a total revenue of $4.8 billion last year, up from $3.9 billion in 2022, and reported $396 million in net losses, an improvement from $577 million. 

The ladies’ movies are playing a big part. Taylor Swift’s concert was released in theaters in October and has now earned over $260 million around the world–making it the highest-grossing concert film ever. The previous record was held by the king of pop, with Michael Jackson’s 2009 concert film “Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” earning just shy of Swift’s total at the global box office. 

Swifities, the main target audience for the film, delivered on the hype and might be deserving of an AMC thank you too. Armored with friendship bracelets, a tribute Swift’s fans pay in reference to her 2022 album “Midnights,” and always on beat with the fan chants, or lines fans sing-shout in between Swift’s lyrics, they transformed movie theaters into concert-venue hybrids. 

Beyonce’s movie, released in December, debuted with $21 million in North American sales and has now earned nearly $44 million around the world. 

AMC’s CEO said that it’s how much the movies helped its revenue, which grew by 11.5% despite “a diminished box office overall,” is “particularly noteworthy,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. All of the revenue growth, he said, “is attributable to our having shown these two movies in our theatres in the U.S and internationally.”

Yet stormy waters, muddied by low box office numbers, writer strikes, and the company’s heavy debt load could still make this a turbulent year. Alicia Reese, an analyst at Wedbush, a wealth management firm, said it could be a “bumpy” second quarter. 

“The January/February box office was down 45% vs. 2019 but it was likely the most difficult period of the year,” she wrote in the note, and added that she expects a rough second quarter, followed by “easing headwinds,” in the third quarter and “normalization,” in the fourth. 

Aron said he believes the box office will strengthen again in March, when Dune 2 will also be released, and expects the industry box office to grow by $1 to $2 billion over 2024, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

The company is also dealing with debt. “AMC must cover its interest payments and leases while chipping away at the $3 billion in debt repayments coming due over the next three years,” she wrote. 

Last quarter was difficult “due to release slate delays driven by the Hollywood labor strikes,” Reese wrote. The labor strikes, which started last May, has taken a multibillion-dollar economic toll on the industry that will take months to tally, Reuters reported. The strikes caused delays of several movie releases, including Dune 2, and in a call with analysts, Aron called the superstars’ films an “unanticipated gift.” 

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