Everyone’s favorite meme stock CEO wants his critics to “choke” on some massive box office numbers, but a Monday market sell-off has many retail investors coughing mad to start the week.
AMC Entertainment AMC, -4.39% chief Adam Aron a virtual victory lap Monday morning after his company saw its biggest global box office weekend since the pandemic hit with more than 2.4 million people visiting AMC theaters in the U.S. and 1.4 million attending movies overseas.
Aron, who chalked up the big numbers to the U.S. domestic release of Spider-Man spinoff “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and the international release of the 25th James Bond film “No Time to Die,” celebrated the occasion in the manner he has come to enjoy most: a fiery and snarky tweet aimed at the self-professed ‘Apes’ who control AMC’s stock.
“Venom & Bond let us set records for our highest grossing weekend since the pandemic hit in 2020,” Aron tweeted Monday morning. “Some 3.9 million visited our theaters globally.”
But the man known as “King Silverback” on meme stock social media didn’t stop there.
“You know my thoughts on “sages” predicting demise of cinemas: Choke on that, baby,” read the rest of Aron’s tweet, concluding his new favorite hashtag: #CHOKEonTHAT
Aron had actually been tracking his receipts throughout the weekend, introducing #CHOKEonTHAT in two separate tweets on Sunday.
Both tweets served to criticize analysts, pundits, and short-sellers who have long predicted the demise of the movie theater business as a global pandemic has superpowered the growth of streaming services, and to rile up the retail investor base that Aron has unapologetically courted after January’s short squeeze and the resulting online campaign sent the company’s stock soaring more than 40% in 2021.
On Twitter, AMC bulls responded with vocal support of the #CHOKEonTHAT movement and posted pictures of themselves at AMC theaters participating in the weekend surge.
By Monday morning, many on Twitter and Reddit were anticipating a big day for their favorite stock, similar to what happened in late June when the ninth installment of Vin Diesel’s “Fast & Furious” franchise, pulled down $ 70 million over its opening weekend and sent AMC’s stock soaring.
But with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down more than 320 points on Monday as investors began to sweat inflation and rising oil prices, AMC stock fell 4.4%.
That incongruous result did not please AMC’s loyal army of traders of social media, who were quick to tie the day’s performance –and that of GameStop GME, -3.14%, which fell just over 3%– to the larger theme of high-level market chicanery that dominated much of last week’s online dialogue.
For parts of Monday, the hashtag #CitadelScandel was trending above both #CHOKEonTHAT and #ApesNotLeaving in a clear signal that the retail crowd put much of Monday’s performance on what they believe to be manipulation by large institutions like Citadel, Robinhood, Bank of America and others to manipulate the price of meme stocks.
That long-held theory caught fire last week thanks to new lawsuits in Florida courts alleging that Robinhood and Citadel Securities communicated before the former’s decision to limit trading of meme stocks in January, and that a Robinhood Securities executive appeared to tell colleagues on an internal chat that he sold his AMC shares just two days before the app restricted trading of the stock.
Both companies have denied the veracity of the claims.
On Monday, the sense of fury on Reddit had not abated.
“We are being short-laddered as I type this,” posited Reddit user LeVraiMatador.
“We must support AMC,” agreed user Trojans01usc, putting himself in the shoes of Citadel founder Ken Griffin. “4 million globally I [thinking face emoji] is not enough for Ken to worry.”
But a bright spot for AMC, if not other meme stocks like BlackBerry BB, -1.03% and Clover Health CLOV, -4.42% that took a hit on Monday, was that Aron had further burnished his image as a uniquely popular figure among retail investors.
“OUR CEO SILVERBACK AA IS ONE OF A KIND,” blared the title of a post on subreddit r/AMCstock.
“I for one love our CEO silverback [Adam Aron],” it read. “When was the last time you heard a ceo of a major company tell his nay sayers to “Choke on that”?? I dont think ive ever heard it.”
Regardless of how you felt about the stock on Monday, it was hard for anyone to disagree with that.
For more coverage of meme stocks, and what they mean for the future of markets, subscribe to our YouTube channel MemeMarkets.