Wall Street Is Banking On Halle Bailey’s ‘Little Mermaid’ To Boost Movie Theater Stocks
Movie theater operators are hoping to catch a big fish with the success of Halle Bailey‘s The Little Mermaid at the box office, according to Finurah.
With theaters trying to desperately recover from their COVID-19 losses in the era of streaming and on demand, many of the top operators are depending on this year’s blockbuster releases to help recover their plummeting stocks. According to Finurah, leaders of the pack, like AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and IMAX Corp., have gained an average of 33% so far this year; while Cinemark Holdings Inc. is up 95% year to date.
However, The Little Mermaid is expected to make those numbers rise significantly.
“I wouldn’t normally expect one movie to necessarily move theater stocks in one direction or another,” said B. Riley Securities analyst Eric Wold. But given that children and families have been “underrepresented” at the box office recently, “this could be a key piece to driving confidence in the industry’s recovery.”
As it stands, the Halle Bailey remake has been the largest holiday release since Top Gun: Maverick brought in $160 million during last year’s Memorial Day weekend. Projections for The Little Mermaid, based on the beloved 1989 animated feature, were set between $120 million and $150 million for its opening weekend; the film brought in over $125 million domestically and surpassed April’s animated hit, Super Mario Bros.
With its current numbers, The Little Mermaid is the third-highest opening of any Disney live-action reimagining behind The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, according to MovieWeb.
Even with the film’s projected global and domestic box office numbers, Wall Street analysts still fear that movie theaters will never be restored to their pre-pandemic glory. Domestic box office revenue is up 32% compared to last year in the second quarter, though still down 20% versus the same period in 2019, according to Roth MKM analyst Eric Handler.