The largest movie theater chain in the U.S., AMC Theatres, is launching a line of microwave and ready-to-eat popcorn products in a bid to diversify its business.
The company first announced its intention to expand into retail back in 2021. Now AMC Perfectly Popcorn is set to hit shelves on March 11 as part of an exclusive deal with Walmart. The launch is timed to make the products available in time for the Academy Awards on March 12.
"On March 11, which is Oscars weekend, we will enter the multi-billion-dollar retail popcorn industry with at-home popcorn that features the authentic taste of real movie theatre popcorn," CEO Adam Aron in a press release
Aron pitched the popcorn line as one of several innovations in recent years that have helped keep the AMC brand viable, including recliner seating, membership benefits, and premium formats.
"Through our retail introduction of AMC Theatres microwave and ready-to-eat popcorn, we continue to Make Movies Better, this time in the comfort of your own home," he said. "And with popcorn now hitting shelves, we remain focused on future innovations that will continue to surprise and delight movie lovers and our shareholders.”
AMC's popcorn will be available at 2,600 Walmart locations and on walmart.com.
The movie theater chain's latest earnings report is also due out Thursday, and shares jumped 20 percent ahead of the release. The stock is up around 46 percent over the past five days, as analysts anticipate tailwinds for the movie theater business in 2023.
AMC has struggled to reduce its debt burden in recent years, and in November reported its 12th consecutive quarterly loss. Its fourth quarter earnings are not expected to look much better, but analysts are predicting a more optimistic forecast for 2023.