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AMC Entertainment Holdings CEO Gerry Lopez, who plans to step down after 6 ½ years, is certainly leaving the company in good stead, thanks to ongoing innovative measures that have boosted both customer engagement and brand loyalty.
Consider how AMC Theatres fared in the second quarter: Total revenue jumped 13%, to a record $821.1 million.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the consistent unifying theme in all of these results in one word is innovation,” Lopez said during the company’s July 29 earnings conference call, according to Seeking Alpha. “Over the last few quarters, we’ve shared with you many of the ideas we’re experimenting with, testing and are preparing to roll out. But know this. It goes well beyond recliners, our continued work in social media, our aggressive use of guest-facing technology, or the deployment of Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime. The list can go on. The point is that at AMC we’ve made innovation and bold thinking a way of life and our guests have noticed and are rewarding us for it.”
What drove AMC Theatres’ record numbers for the second quarter?
“Well, simply stated, the fast cars, superheroes, and the non-ruling dinosaurs of this quarter were best enjoyed in the premium format for which audiences know and love,” Lopez explained. “Take IMAX for example. Our 150 screens, by far, the most of any circuit in the world were up 44% for the quarter. The 3D format was also a solid contributor, up 34% in box office dollars. Even our newest format, Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime had positive admissions growth, this in spite of having nearly 6% of the AMC Prime locations offline for conversions and retrofits. But as strong as all of these were in Q2, when it comes to size, penetration and broad impact, once again no one thing and no one format can match the recliner remodels.”
AMC Theatres boasts 826 recliner-equipped screens in 70 theatres across the country, more than any other theater.
“Per screen admissions revenue at the recliner remodels were up 20.1%,” Lopez added. “The industry was up 8.8%. Moviegoers discriminate based on experience on what you all know we like to call comfort and convenience. We are very proud of these results and believe that our business will continue to grow as we continue to invest, and make no mistake, invest we will.”
Imitation is, after all, the sincerest form of flattery, Lopez explained.
“Competition is nothing new, though, and we believe that the AMC guest experience continues to offer a complete package, a great value that goes beyond just the one idea as good as that idea maybe,” he said. “This is not a shocker, but our results will support that theory. For example, a little more than a year ago, we knew that to drive convenience, we needed to develop our own proprietary online ticketing engine, which would make AMC tickets available for more websites and will make choosing a movie and buying a ticket to AMC easier than it’s ever been before. We’ve reported on this during our prior calls, but here we are now barely a year later, with our second quarter internet ticketing revenues up 36% over last year, as we sold 11.6 million tickets online, representing approximately 21% of our total. This compares to 14% of our total tickets sold on the internet a year ago, that's better than 52% improvement.”
What’s more, the company’s proprietary ticketing engine at amctheaters.com continues to perform well for its guests, accounting for about 38% of all online tickets sold in the second quarter, a 46% increase compared to the second quarter a year ago.
“All of this improves the overall guest experience at AMC, and it also adds to our ancillary revenues and it gives us greater influence of our guest’s entire movie-going night out,” Lopez said. “In the retail service industry, these are world-class numbers. They’re unique to building engagement and loyalty with our audiences and credit here goes to our theatre teams, without whom, there is no magic at the movies.”