NEW YORK -- The hits keep coming. Shares of AMC - the largest movie theater chain in the world - surged more than 120% Wednesday to a new peak above $70 before falling back slightly. Trading of the shares was halted twice due to volatility. The stock closed Wednesday at $62.55, up 95% for the day.
The popular WallStreetBets Reddit board has boosted the stock lately as a way to hurt short sellers who bet against the company. On Wednesday, AMC announced that it would reach out to its new backers with an initiative called "AMC Investor Connect."
The company described "Investor Connect" as a way to put AMC in "direct communication with its extraordinary base of enthusiastic and passionate individual shareholders." The theater chain also revealed that it has seen its "retail shareholder base grow beyond 3 million owners" over the last several months.
"Many of our investors have demonstrated support and confidence in AMC. We intend to communicate often with these investors, and from time to time provide them with special benefits at our theatres," Adam Aron, AMC's CEO, said in a statement. "We start with a free large popcorn on us when they attend their first movie at an AMC theatre this summer."
Other promotions include special discounts and screening invites for retail backers.
The good news on Wall Street also came a day after AMC announced that it raised $230.5 million by selling 8.5 million shares to Mudrick Capital Management.
The theater chain is trying to get back to normal after a brutal year for the industry. The coronavirus pandemic hit theaters especially hard leading to cineplexes being shut down and delaying big movie releases. However, AMC has had a reversal of fortunes of late thanks in large part to Reddit's army of investors.
But the turnaround is also getting a boost from movies - as well as audiences - returning to theaters over the last few months, punctuated by last weekend's big box office numbers.
Paramount's "A Quiet Place Part II," a new horror film starring Emily Blunt, opened to the biggest weekend of the pandemic so far, notching $48.3 million for its three-day debut in North America over Memorial Day weekend.
But not everyone was cheering the hot start to the summer movie season.
Goldman Sachs downgraded shares of theater chain Cinemark and big screen operator IMAX to a rare "sell" rating on Wednesday.
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