Movie theater companies own and operate cinemas and concession stands in both local and national chain models. As a component of the consumer discretionary sector, movie theaters tend to perform well when customers have disposable income and poorly when the economy is struggling or during times of market turbulence. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated movie theaters as a group, both due to the economic recession and because health-conscious consumers are watching movies at home.

The biggest names in the movie theater industry include AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC) and Imax Corp. (IMAX). While there is no benchmark for publicly traded movie theater companies, the stocks we looked at have vastly underperformed the broader market as represented by the Russell 1000. The index has posted a 1-year trailing total return of 13.7% as of September 22. All figures below are as of September 23.

Here are the top 3 movie theater stocks with the best value, least sales decline, and best performance. None of the stocks in our screen had positive earnings per share (EPS) or 1-year trailing total returns.

Best Value Movie Theater Stocks

These are the movie theater stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-sales (P/S) ratio. For companies in early stages of development or industries suffering from major shocks, this can be substituted as a rough measure of a business's value. A business with higher sales could eventually produce more profit when it achieves, or returns to profitability. The price-to-sales ratio shows how much you're paying for the stock for each dollar of sales generated.

Best Value Movie Theater Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/S Ratio
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC) 5.21 0.6 0.1
Cinemark Holdings Inc. (CNK) 11.17 1.3 0.6
Marcus & Millichap Inc. (MMI) 26.05 1.0 1.4

Source: YCharts

  • AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.: AMC Entertainment is a holding company which, through its subsidiaries, provides movie theater services including movie screening, food, online ticket booking, and similar services. The company operates theaters worldwide. The company reported that, as of September 12, it had re-opened 460 theaters across the U.S., constituting nearly 80% of the AMC circuit in the domestic market.
  • Cinemark Holdings Inc.: Cinemark is a holding company that, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates movie theaters. The company offers movie screening, snacks and drinks, and an online ticket purchasing system.
  • Marcus & Millichap Inc.: Marcus & Millichap is a brokerage firm focused on commercial real estate investment. The company offers sales, financing, research, and advisory services. In addition to movie theaters, the company invests in shopping centers, car washes, fast food properties, and other similar properties across the U.S. and Canada. In August, the company appointed Steve DeGennaro as Chief Financial Officer, replacing Marty Louie, who will remain as Senior Vice President of Corporate Initiatives.

Movie Theater Stocks With the Least Sales Decline

These are the movie theater stocks with the least year over year (YOY) sales decline for the most recent quarter. A company’s ability to maintain sales in a difficult business environment can be a sign of good management and/or a strong business model.

Movie Theater Stocks With the Least Sales Decline
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) Revenue Growth (%)
Marcus & Millichap Inc. (MMI) 26.05 1.0 -44.0
Imax Corp. (IMAX) 13.15 0.8 -91.6
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC) 5.21 0.6 -98.8

Source: YCharts

  • Marcus & Millichap Inc.: See above for company description.
  • Imax Corp.: IMAX is a Canadian company providing end-to-end cinematic solutions, including proprietary software, theater architecture, and equipment. The company has four segments which are the Network Business, Theater Business, New Business and Other. IMAX is best known for designing and manufacturing premium theater systems and digitally re-mastering films into the IMAX format and the exhibition of those films in the IMAX theater network. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IMAX reported a net loss as revenue fell 91.5% in 2Q 2020, which ended July 28, 2020.
  • AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.: See above for company description.

Movie Theater Stocks With the Best Performance

These are the movie theater stocks that had the smallest declines in total return over the past 12 months out of the companies we looked at.

Movie Theater Stocks With the Best Performance
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
Marcus & Millichap Inc. (MMI) 26.05 1.0 -28.4
Imax Corp. (IMAX) 13.15 0.8 -39.8
AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC) 5.21 0.6 -50.5
Russell 1000 N/A N/A 13.7

Source: YCharts

  • Marcus & Millichap Inc.: See above for company description.
  • Imax Corp.: See above for company description.
  • AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.: See above for company description.