Movie Exhibitor Stocks Fall Amid Slumping Box Office

Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows Robert Downey Jude Law - H 2011
Warner Bros.

Sherlock Holmes Game of Shadows Robert Downey Jude Law - H 2011

On the heels of the box office's third weak weekend in a row, Regal Entertainment shares fall 9 percent Monday, and Carmike Cinemas is off 6 percent since Thanksgiving.

Looks like Wall Street is reacting to a weak holiday season at the box office, judging by how the movie-exhibition stocks fared Monday.

Regal Entertainment shares dropped 9 percent Monday to $12.11 and are off 14 percent since Dec. 1. Carmike Cinemas, meanwhile, dropped 5 percent on Monday, while Cinemark Holdings was off 3 percent.

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The box office has been weak for several weeks, and the most recent weekend was considered the third dud in a row, with Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked underperforming compared to their debuts. All-in-all, the weekend was down 14 percent compared to last year.

The one bright spot was Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which took in $14 million on 385 worldwide Imax screens ahead of its Dec. 21 nationwide opening. Imax stock, though, dipped 3 percent Monday to $19.66.

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Year-to-date, the box office is off some 4 percent compared with 2010, and analysts and investors have been worried about the weakness since at least Thanksgiving. On Dec. 8, for example, Caris & Co. downgraded Carmike to a “below-average” rating. Since Thanksgiving, Carmike shares are down 6 percent.

While the major exhibitor stocks are off since Thanksgiving, Imax has fared well, up 12 percent despite Monday's weakness.