AMC offers free popcorn to small investors

AMC is basking in the glow of its cult status as a so-called meme stock.

The pack of individual investors touting AMC on message boards like Reddit's Wall Street Bets pushed the stock to a record high Wednesday.

Shares were up another 30 percent in early trading, topping $40 for the first time ever.

Looking to build on that momentum and stay connected to those small investors, AMC on Wednesday launched a new investor outreach program that offered a free large popcorn to even the smallest shareholders - if they signed up for a regular newsletter.

CEO Adam Aron embraced the group in a statement, saying, "Even if our shareholders now number in the millions...these people are the owners of AMC, and I work for them."

That focus on mom-and-pop investors comes amid doubts from Wall Street professionals.

Hedge funds are still betting on the stock's demise...

Mudrick Capital, which bought $230 million worth of AMC shares on Tuesday, quickly flipped it for a profit on the same day.

There's also the issue of AMC’S debt and declining sales.

Vespula Capital CEO Jeff Tomasulo:

"When you look at the certain amount of money and you look at the debt on the books that AMC has, you look at their equity. I mean, you're saying that this company has an enterprise value of over like $18 billion. And if you start to go back and look at how the company performed pre-pandemic, it doesn't fundamentally make sense for the stock to be valued at where it's being valued at."

Goldman Sachs isn't a fan of the movie theater business right now. It downgraded AMC's peers - Cinemark and IMAX to "sell" ratings on Wednesday, saying the rise of direct-to-consumer streaming services poses an existential threat to the theater chains.

But the harsh spotlight on the movie theater business hasn’t convinced small investors to walk out on AMC yet. Wednesday's rally propelled the stock to a more than 1,800 percent gain so far this year.

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