New popcorn business won’t change the rules of the game for AMC, Cinemark CEO Says

A Cinemark employee serves popcorn to a customer at a concession booth at Cinemark’s Century 16 at the South Point Hotel and Casino on August 14, 2020 in Las Vegas, NV.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Popcorn may be a staple in theaters, but retail sales will not be a “tipping point” for AMC Entertainment, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said Friday.

AMC announced on Thursday that it will begin selling popcorn at about a dozen stalls, and will supply prepackaged and microwave-safe popcorn to supermarkets and convenience stores in 2022. coronavirus pandemic. The company’s shares were up about 3.4% on Friday afternoon.

“I don’t think this necessarily changes anything because popcorn is very important to all of us,” Zoradi told Julia Burstin to CNBC in an exclusive interview on The Exchange on Friday.

He said that Cinemark has been selling prepackaged popcorn in its cinemas for four years and testing kiosks in malls in Brazil.

Zoradi said it is more important for Cinemark to create a “great cinematic experience” for guests to continue to drive strong ticket sales in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Popcorn and Concessions [are] most of that, ”he said. “But the film brings them back in the first place.”

AMC representatives did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Zoradi noted that about 65% of Cinemark’s more than 500 cinemas are equipped with luxury reclining chairs, and the company recently launched an online ordering service that allows customers to get food and drinks to their seats.

Cinemark shares jumped more than 5% on Friday after the company reported a cut in third-quarter losses from a year ago. Like many movie theater chains, Cinemark has been hit hard by shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the box office is buoyed by increased consumer confidence and a string of popular blockbusters.

October saw the highest catch of ticket sales of any month so far in 2021. Moviegoers are estimated to have spent about $ 637.9 million on tickets in the last 31 days when they ventured into theaters to watch No Time to Die, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Halloween Murders and Dune “.

Cinemark said October was the company’s highest grossing month during the Covid-19 era. Monthly results exceeded May 2021 receipts by more than double.

In November and December, cinemas will benefit from a number of previously delayed films. The Eternals, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and Encanto are slated for November, while West Side Story, Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections are due out in December.

AMC plans to report third quarter earnings on Monday.

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