Theater Stocks Still Dropping After 'Dark Knight Rises' Shooting

Dark Knight Rises Alfred with Bruce Wayne Still - H 2012
Warner Bros.

Dark Knight Rises Alfred with Bruce Wayne Still - H 2012

Analyst: If domestic box office drops less than 52.5 percent in movie's second weekend, the industry should take heart.

Movie-theater stocks have tumbled more than the broader markets since news broke Friday about the shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

While the S&P 500 is off 2.8 percent since the opening bell on Friday through the close on Tuesday, Regal Entertainment Group has fallen 4.7 percent, Imax Corp. is down 5.6 percent and Carmike Cinemas is off 9.9 percent. Cinemark Holdings, which owns the theater where the mass-murders took place, is off 6.2 percent.

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Fairing better than all of them is Warner Bros. parent Time Warner, shares of which have only slightly underperformed the broader markets, down 3.2 percent since the shootings.

If the theater stocks continue to fall, MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler told The Hollywood Reporter, they could represent a buying opportunity, especially if box office for Dark Knight Rises falls off less than the 52.5 percent that its predecessor, The Dark Knight, fell in its second weekend during its run in 2008.

“If it does better than a 52.5 percent decline, then it probably means that the people who may have stayed away from theaters are already coming back,” Handler said.

As for expenses rising as exhibitors embrace heftier security measures, Handler says such worries are overblown.

“I don’t think it will go as far as X-ray machines at theaters,” he said. “You want to create a safe environment, and I think you do that by adding more security people to your staff. Metal detectors, which are not inexpensive, would be taking it too far and could make people skittish.”