Wall Street noticed the stronger-than-expected box office sales in the first three months of 2015: Investors favored exhibition companies in an otherwise uninspiring quarter for media stocks. AMC Entertainment led the way among the companies we follow most closely, with shares up 35.6% from the end of 2014. Carmike (+27.9%) followed in the exhibition group, along with Cinemark (+26.7%) and Regal Entertainment (+6.9%).
They stood out in a period when the Dow Jones U.S. Media Index was up just 1.1%, slightly ahead of the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500, +0.4%.
The industry giants had mixed results. Sony (+30.8%) was the top gainer, followed by Disney (+11.4%) and CBS (+9.6%). Others lost ground, led by Fox (-11.9%), Discovery (-10.7%), Viacom (-9.2%), Comcast (-2.7%) and Time Warner (-1.1%).
Looking more broadly at media, winners included Netflix (+22%), AMC Networks (+20.2%), Amazon (+19.9%), Charter Communications (+15.9%), Starz (+15.9%), Sinclair Broadcast Group (+14.8%), World Wrestling Entertainment (+13.5%) and Crown Media (+13.0%).
Pure-play production companies also fared well: With a strong weekend box office for its latest release, Home, DreamWorks Animation rallied to end the quarter +8.4%. Lionsgate was +5.9%.
The list of losers includes Alibaba Group (-19.9%), Rovi (-19.4%), AOL (-14.2%), Microsoft (-12.5%) and Redbox parent Outerwall (-12.1%). Among the other decliners are Yahoo (-12%), Cablevision (-11.3%), TiVo (-10.4%), Pandora (-9.1%), Scripps Networks (-8.9%), Time Inc (-8.8%), Dish Network (-3.9%), Live Nation Entertainment (-3.4%) and DirecTV (-1.8%).