AMC Embraces 'Meme Stock' Status—With Free Popcorn

'Investor Connect' program offers them free popcorn
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 3, 2021 8:30 AM CDT
As Stock Surges, AMC Offers Investors Free Popcorn
In this March 5, 2021 photo, people line up for movie tickets at a reopened AMC theater in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Four months after GameStop's wild ride rocked Wall Street, so-called "meme stocks" are making waves again—especially AMC Entertainment. The movie theater company's share price almost doubled Wednesday, closing at a record high for the first time since 2015, and it is up 417.8% since May 21 and more than 2,800% for the year, reports MarketWatch. Other stocks favored by online investors who discuss strategy on Twitter and Reddit rose, including BlackBerry and Bed, Bath & Beyond. AMC now has more than 3 million retail shareholders, and the company announced a new Investor Connect program for them Wednesday, which includes exclusive screening and free popcorn. More:

  • Direct communication. The company says it aims to stay in direct communication with its "extraordinary base of enthusiastic and passionate individual shareholders" "We intend to communicate often with these investors, and from time to time provide them with special benefits at our theatres," said CEO Adam Aron. “We start with a free large popcorn on us, when they attend their first movie at an AMC theatre this summer.”

  • Short-sellers lose out again. As with the rise of GameStop and other stocks earlier this year, short-sellers have been squeezed by AMC's recent surge, CNBC reports. According to S3 partners, short-sellers lost $2.8 billion Wednesday, bringing their total AMC losses for the year to around $5 billion.
  • Trading was halted. The New York Stock Exchange briefly halted trading in AMC shares as its price surged early Wednesday, though some angry investors incorrectly blamed trading app Robinhood, Fox reports.
  • Embracing the "meme thing." Elizabeth Lopatto at the Verge notes AMC is taking a very different approach from GameStop, which said "absolutely nothing" about online investors as the company's stock soared. "AMC, though, they’ve elected to really embrace the whole meme thing," she writes. "I'm hoping there are more announcements where they get meme-ier. Like, retail investors get a free Lego rocket in the fourth quarter or something."
  • You might own AMC stock and not know it. The Wall Street Journal reports that many investors might be unaware that AMC stock is part of their portfolios. GameStop and AMC are both still part of the Russell 2000 value index of small companies, though analysts expect them to be kicked off the index at the next rebalancing.
  • Big payday for CEO. "AMC lost $4.6 billion last year. Revenue fell 90%. It furloughed 30,000 workers. AMC rewarded the CEO by doubling his pay to $21 million," tweeted Dan Price, the Gravity Payments CEO who decided to pay all workers, including himself, $70,000. Now, through sheer luck, Price said, Aron's fortune has grown by "an extra $210 million because retail meme investors drove up the stock."
(Read more AMC stories.)

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