AMC Theatres has had a tough year, global pandemic or not. But with major movie theater chains like AMC Entertainment Holdings (NYSE: AMC) and Regal Cinemas set to reopen this week, will audiences be ready to return to the theaters? All the signs are pointing to no. And that could be a real problem for shareholders of AMC stock.

Three film cannisters in the darkness of an empty AMC movie theater. How will this weekend affect its stock?

AMC Stock’s Pandemic Plight

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit movie theaters hard, and AMC stock had already been on a decline for years. But now, the status of one of my favorite movie theaters is in more peril than ever.

AMC is set to reopen its theaters this Friday. That’s a sound strategy as we know there is nothing movie theaters love more than an extended weekend. But if they do open as scheduled, will the people come like they would to a magical baseball field in Iowa?

A new poll by Morning Consult reveals that only 17% of people said they’d feel comfortable going to the movies right now. And showing a popcorn flick to 17% capacity doesn’t sound too profitable to me. Cue up the scary music for AMC stock.

AMC’s 15-Cent Gamble

That may be especially true due to AMC’s new ticket pricing structure. Normally when I buy a movie ticket, let’s say in a big city like New York, when I see the price, I feel like the theater just punched me in the face with a Mike Tyson hook.

But now? Ticket prices are going down. Way down. All the way to 1920. AMC is celebrating its centennial by offering tickets at 1920-level prices of just $0.15. That could be a draw for some, but it’s hard to say.

So will AMC stock begin to flourish again? Hold your popcorn…

See, I’m an avid moviegoer… I’ll watch pretty much anything Hollywood shoves in my face. But, color me a bit skeptical about going to the movies in the middle of a global pandemic of which America is the focal point, even with my mask glued to my face like Bane pummeling a helpless Batman. Even at 1920’s movie prices.


AMC Stock and the Nolan Factor

Oh, and speaking of director Christopher Nolan’s work of genius The Dark Knight Rises, Nolan’s latest potential blockbuster hit, Tenet will become Hollywood’s first major test film in the age of coronavirus.

American audiences will finally be able to see the long-awaited, time-bending, mind-bending film this Labor Day weekend. But once again, will the fans be willing to come out, even for the much-beloved director’s latest work?

Again, color me skeptical. I may love Christopher Nolan films almost more than life itself, but no thanks. I think I’ll wait another six months and let those coronavirus numbers come down some first.

Is Hollywood Screaming or Streaming?

If many other would-be filmgoers do the same, it could be another major hurdle for AMC stock to overcome. Now, AMC stock has seen some gains since its COVID collapse in May and has climbed from a truly depressing low of $1.95 to around $5.30 today… a very nice 171% gain in only a few months. Only time will tell if its new ambitious plan will help improve it even more.

It will be an interesting Hollywood test to see whether AMC stock can overcome all of these challenges and start clawing back more value right now… or whether audiences will run away screaming as if they were being chased by Godzilla.

I can tell you one thing. For my part, I think I’d rather keep my money in streaming services like Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) stock at this moment.

Good luck, AMC.