If you dreamed of riding AMC Theaters and Dogecoin to the moon, we have some good news — they’re joining forces to make it easier than ever to use your crypto wallet to check out a movie on the big screen and choke it all down with popcorn and a soda. The future of movie-going isn’t streaming. Or 3D. Or IMAX. It’s, umm… crypto. Apparently?
As AMC looks to fully embrace its post-Gamestop meme stock place in pop culture, the company is expanding its crypto functions so movie-goers can now use more cryptocurrencies via Bitpay for purchases. Options range from popular coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum to more niche crypto coins, including Shiba Inu and the meme-inspired currency Dogecoin, which itself had a bit of time in the spotlight as Reddit traders aimed to juice the coin’s value in the same meme-driven cycle around Gamestop and AMC stocks.
AMC has been on a wild ride the past year and change, with the theater company on the verge of bankruptcy during the height of the pandemic. With virtually all its theaters closed or limited in capacity and Hollywood continuously delaying its tentpole movies, AMC stock nose-dived to under $3 in late 2020 and early 2021 as theaters sat largely empty for over a year, Tenet excluded, of course. It seems not even a global pandemic could slow the box office powers of Christopher Nolan to make us so hyped and confused we could blissfully forget about the pandemic for a few hours.
But just as the Reddit-fueled meme stock movement took off, pulling Gamestop from the brink of extinction and sticking it to Wall Street traders who had bet on the company to fail, the grassroots trader movement turned its focus to buying up stock in the theater chain. The move floated a company in desperate need of a cash infusion as it tried to hang on and survive the pandemic before eventually reopening when the blockbuster faucet would finally turn back on.
By June 2021, the hype train was rolling, and AMC stocked peaked out at just under $60 per share. Though the company has since stabilized back to around $17 per share, the Reddit-driven hype gave AMC the ability to generate cash and push through the shutdowns. Around the same time, Reddit traders threw some attention at meme stock Dogecoin, the ultimate joke that became an actual form of real-life digital currency. Though Doge’s value peaked wildly for a few days after a tumultuous and breakneck climb to over 50 cents, it’s now leveled back down to around a cent or so in value.
Which brings us back around to AMC, which has added a function in its app for ticket and concession purchases to allow customers to link up their crypto wallets and use various coins for said purchases. The expansion of coins available to use comes after AMC began allowing customers to make purchases with Bitcoin and Ethereum late last year in what now seems to be the first wave of one of the oldest entertainment technologies embracing one of the most unpredictable and cutting-edge forms of tech development.
Put simply, things are just getting kind of weird.
It’s always interesting to see how an aging industry tries to adapt and survive. But anyone who has walked across a sticky movie theater floor, had a kid kick the back of their seat for two hours, squinted across the glare of someone’s phone two rows down, and sat in a broken cloth rocking chair emanating the faint aroma of old Milk Duds and body odor can likely attest it’s not the lack of crypto options at the checkout kiosk keeping people from coming back to theaters. Making more ways to pay probably can’t hurt, but the experience itself needs to be reevaluated from the ground up. That’s the problem. Going to a movie already costs a lot. If you have to pay at least make it a more premium experience. There’s a reason Alamo Drafthouse is opening new theaters, even in 2022. Don’t give us crypto, just make the experience good.
For the average movie-goer, all of this is probably just a weird bit of trivia as they look to snag a matinee ticket to Morbius or dive into the multiverse of Everything Everywhere All at Once. For AMC, it seems to be at least some acknowledgment of the very online people who helped get the brand back in a profitable position, and a pivot to give users more ways (and if we’re being honest, probably a few too many ways) to buy tickets and go to the movies.
For folks who jumped into the Dogecoin rush in the hope of riding the nebulous crypto chaos into becoming a millionaire … well, at least now maybe you can convert that pile of languishing Dogecoin into a few movie tickets and a refillable popcorn bucket. Though there’s always the lingering fear you’ll look back in a decade or so and realize you’re now the equivalent of the guy who spent 10,000 Bitcoin to order a few pizzas back in 2010. Bitcoin that would’ve been worth around $400 million today. Gulp.