Versus the typical 50% week-over-week decline, the Barbenheimer films produced another strong weekend: Oppenheimer's domestic box office receipts fell -39% (and stands at $228M in total), Barbie fell -53% ($459M), and Mission: Impossible feel -39% ($151M). Placer's visitation data and management commentary on recent earnings calls were also highly constructive for Q3 2023’s total box office receipts. (Recall, we are estimating a $2.7B-$3.0B quarterly total; quarter-to-date, the running total is $1.7B.) One measure of the significance of the phenomenon is the extent to which folks are seeing multiple films. Since Mission: Impossible opened on Jul 12, 30% of moviegoers at AMC Theaters have seen at least two films at an AMC theater, as the figure below shows. For Cinemark Theaters, the figure is 33%.
Following Cinemark’s strong Q2 2023 update (which showed domestic EBITDA above Q2 2019 levels), AMC Entertainment also reported good results (but with domestic EBITDA of $175M that still lagged the $202M posted in 2019). As shown in the table below, holding back AMC’s EBITDA recovery is an expense increase of nearly $2.00 per admission above Cinemark’s expense increase between the two periods. Why the difference? AMC’s financial disclosures are less generous than Cinemark, but trying to parse it using Placer data suggests that labor costs from higher wage rates explains most of the increase. Placer shows shifts worked are down far more than employees. Given the service worker shortage over the past few years, AMC has likely had to give its employees longer shifts and pay them a higher rate, especially given their footprint in denser urban areas where labor availability has been even tighter.