How the AMC apes cracked Wall Street

A more than 100-year-old movie theater chain, AMC Entertainment, has been on a wild ride this year after losing $4.6 billion in revenue in 2020. The coronavirus pandemic pushed the company to the brink of bankruptcy, but today its market cap is more than $18 billion thanks, in part, to a group of 4.1 million retail investors who now own 80% of the company.

Some of these retail investors call themselves “apes,” a play on Wall Street referring to them as “dumb money.” In a digital uprising on Reddit, Twitter and YouTube, they have jumped into the stock giving AMC a billion-dollar lifeline.  

The company’s CEO, Adam Aron, is one of the most interesting characters in this whole drama because he has leaned into AMC’s “meme stock status.”  

Aron communicates with retail investors directly on social media and he’s incorporating their ideas for the company, like accepting crypto at AMC theaters, into his strategy. The CEO is known for turning around struggling companies and he’s prepared for the fight to save this one.

“We have a massive valuation of our company right now in market cap, and we need to grow into that valuation,” Aron said. “And I think as the next six, 18, 30 months play out, you’ll see AMC branching out and doing more interesting things. And that will be the definition of success.”

CNBC’s Melissa Lee interviewed Aron about his plans to revive the company, as well as some of the ape’s biggest influencers — Trey Collins, known as Trey’s Trades, and Matt Kohrs, to hear why the apes think Wall Street is rigged, and what they are trying to do about it.

Watch the video for the full story.