AMC Entertainment chairman-CEO Adam Aron said the chain will be technologically equipped to start accepting Bitcoin payments for U.S. movie tickets and concessions ordered online by the end of the year.
At a meaty, newsy and somewhat bizarre webcast, Aron also noted the chain will also start accepting Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Aron noted that many of the company’s big new crop of retail investors, which he’s embraced heartily, are highly enthusiastic about cryptocurrency.
He said he learned about cryto while serving a stint on the board of Centricus Acquisition Corp., a SPAC (or special purpose acquisition company) set up by one one of his “closest European friends” of more than 20 years, chairman of Silversea Cruises (Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio). Centricus acquired a firm called Arqit, which Aron said “is on the cutting edge of quantum encryption and blockchain technology.”
AMC reported stronger than anticipated second-quarter financial results this afternoon. Aron hosted the call with hundreds of investors on the line, ticking off a stream of new initiatives some of which, like the Bitcoin gambit, sounded like a wish list or attempt to show chat-room investors that he’s on the same page. It’s not clear how a Bitcoin — which is worth $45,947.90 at current prices — could pay for a night out at the movies.
Aron took a raft of questions from the retail crowd — from whether the company will invest in drive-ins (no, a bad business) or consumer products (eh, could do) or film production (it’s expensive). He took the opportunity of that last query to recall AMC’s production venture with Regal, Open Road, and its Oscar wins for Spotlight — then segue into why the company needs to sell more stock and raise cash for big plays.
Investors on Wall Street chatrooms like Reddit and others have bough in, buoyed the stock and Aron owes them a lot. He bowed to group pressure at the company’s annual meeting earlier this month that it not seek authorization to sell more shares. He took over a dozen questions from them on the call, and only one from a Wall Street analyst at the tail end.