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Contrarian Calls, Revisited: AMC

On a very early episode of this podcast (its fourth, actually), Mark Jones of Pragmatic Capital made the bullish case for AMC’s stock.

At the time of the recording, May 2019, AMC had been in the doldrums for some time over concerns with its debt. It was trading around $15 per share after suffering for years. “I like contrarian situations,” Jones said.

Disappointing numbers at the box office were hurting the stock. But Jones considered this to be a temporary trend as the box office is cyclical in nature. “If you want to understand AMC’s success, you have to understand the dynamics of the box office.”

Citing data from BoxOfficeMojo.com, Jones anticipated better days ahead for the box office. This was partly due to the quantity and quality of movies released by major studios. Both were diminished with Disney (DIS) releasing 50% fewer movies in 2017. With more films slated for release in 2019 and 2020, it stood to reason that box office numbers would improve — and AMC’s stock with it.

His price target for AMC was “in the low $30s.”

What Happened

AMC had another tough year in 2019, dropping by about half to around $7 per share by the end of the year. 2020 got off to an even worse start and once the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, AMC was in freefall. bottoming at around $2 this January.

Then, in late January, everything changed. AMC saw a huge spike in interest from the WallStreetBets reddit and quadrupled overnight. It hung around for a few months and then this week started a new ascent, setting a new all-time high in the process.