It’s impossible to argue that AMC Entertainment AMC, +0.65% hasn’t had a rather incredible 2021 as the company’s stock is up over 730% despite a global pandemic ravaging its business model.
But some of that “mother meme stock” magic has worn off as the year comes to a close with AMC is facing a resurgent pandemic in the form of delta and omicron variants, a stock price that has fallen about 60% in the second half of the year, and now Ortex data shows that short interest on AMC has climbed back above 20% for the first time since early October.
In addition to Covid, and rising inflation that impacts consumer behavior like splashing out on a trip to the movies, AMC is also contending with some discontent related to Aron’s cashing out on his insider shares in recent weeks, a decision that he has been transparent about with his retail investor base but has also reaped him a more than $50 million windfall and angered AMC “Apes” who aren’t just holding their shares but putting them into direct registration systems in order to protect them from the shorts.
Aron — who has cultivated Reddit’s Ape army of AMC loyalists via his very active Twitter account and corporate initiatives like AMC Investor Connect which provides retail investors HODLing AMC shares with access to the C-suite, NFTs, and free popcorn — now finds himself in something a pickle with the year winding down and a base that is turning on him a bit just as the Christmas blockbuster season looks to be deeply threatened by exploding Covid infection rates.
So late Tuesday night, Aron took to Twitter to try a new tactic: telling AMC investors that the competition is in even worse shape…
Cineworld CNNWF, -37.06% stock has indeed been impacted by the news of its legal loss, but that 38% drop Wednesday morning took the shares from just over 60 cents to the mid-30 cent range.
Pointing out that your “biggest competitor brings opportunity to AMC,” might be true, but pointing out that your biggest competitor is trading as an injured penny stock while you’re pushing a stock in the mid $20 range is — as AMC’s fans on social media would say — “a real mood.”