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With the rise of streaming video, what sort of investor puts money into a deeply-indebted movie theater chain? We may soon find out.
Cineworld is hoping a Wall Street debut will bolster its finances, battered by the health crisis. While many of its theaters were shut, the owner of Regal Cinemas watched its bigger rival AMC enjoy a surge of interest from retail investors buying into social media hype surrounding so-called “meme stocks.” AMC shares have skyrocketed 15 times this year.
But the meme shine only lasts so long. AMC shares are down nearly half from their peak in June. Its ticket sales were still running at less than a third of 2019 levels. And it reported a huge quarterly loss.
Causes for concern: the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the accelerated shift by studios to release movies simultaneously on streaming platforms.
Cineworld sees some bright spots: it said it had shrunk its loss to a third that of last year.