As cinemas struggle, AMC goes popcorn – Quartz

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As theaters continue to struggle, AMC Entertainment is keen to sell their popcorn outside of theaters.

The world’s largest movie theater chain said on Thursday it would start selling its popcorn in malls, supermarkets and convenience stores across the United States next year, both as a freshly busted option and in stores. microwaveable packaging. With the pandemic changing consumer habits, the movie company will also begin selling fresh take-out, pick-up and delivery popcorn, a means to salvage food that exploded during the pandemic. The company says it aims to operate up to 15 retail stores in the United States – and not all with an AMC theater location – by the end of 2022.

Entering the multi-billion dollar popcorn market “just makes sense and makes sense [for AMC], one wonders why the idea has not been tried before, ”said Adam Aron, CEO of AMC, in a press release. The move will help the world’s largest movie theater chain target new audiences and diversify its revenue streams.

It comes as the pandemic continues to loom over theaters. Over the Labor Day weekend, AMC recorded its highest admissions for this weekend in company history, suggesting that theaters could return to pre-pandemic numbers. Total movie ticket sales this year topped 2020 sales, but they are still almost 70% behind the $ 11.4 billion in 2019, CNBC reported.

Popcorn improves AMC results

While people don’t watch the movies like they used to, AMC has used their popcorn as a timely reminder. In June, the owner of the movie theater, which typically sells up to 52 million bags of popcorn a year, offered shareholders free popcorn, in part to embrace its newfound fame as a stock market. memes, as well as to convince retail investors to buy and hold stocks and vote with management in times of crisis.

This isn’t the first time that popcorn has saved cinemas. Until World War II, mainstream cinemas did not serve popcorn; they aimed to attract a savvy audience and didn’t want the popcorn poop to deter the audience and ruin the carpets. During the Great Depression, movie theaters began to go bankrupt, but those that started serving popcorn and other snacks survived, with owners realizing that concessions were their tickets for higher profits. In 1945, more than half of all popcorn in the United States was consumed in movie theaters.

Popcorn is big business for AMC. Food and beverage sales typically represent one-third of AMC’s annual revenue. In the first quarter of 2021, food and beverage revenue per customer reached a record high of $ 7.37, up from $ 4.76 in the same period last year, the company said during the call of first quarter results in May.

As moviegoers return to theaters, they associate their movie with food more than ever before. “What we’ve seen as people go back to the movies is more and more people are going to the concession stand,” Aron told investors and analysts during the second quarter earnings call in August. “They buy food and drink because they want the full experience.

AMC is releasing its third quarter results after market close on Monday.


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