By Leonard Robinson 

Box offices made enormous gains over the Memorial Day weekend, another positive sign that a return to normal is on the horizon.  

Box offices across the country bounced back over the holiday, earning $100 million in ticket sales. The long weekend was a pandemic high, though the sales were less than half of the $232 million generated during the same weekend in 2019. 

“Memorial weekend is usually a very pivotal weekend for the movie business and movie theaters,” said media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. “It normally is a bellwether for what’s to come for the box office in any given summer movie season, so it’s vitally important, and in 2021it may have been the most important memorial weekend ever… because it’s been a while since we’ve had a summer movie season at the box office.” 

Paramount’s “A Quiet Place Part II” boasted $48.4 million in a three-day haul and $57 million over the four-day holiday weekend, despite only 72% of theaters remaining open, CNBC reported. The “A Quiet Place” grossed $50 million in 2018 across its Friday, Saturday, and Sunday debut. 

Throughout the pandemic, studios have experimented with new ways to release films. 

Disney created a $30 one-time package that offered premiere access to watch a new blockbuster film. Meanwhile, Paramount, Universal, and other production companies struck deals with theaters allowing them to release films earlier on streaming platforms. Earlier this year, Warner Brothers released numerous movies on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day.  

On June 2, AMC shares climbed for the second day in a row as company fans revolt against analysts’ undervaluation of the company. To encourage continued investment, AMC decided to offer a special set of rewards to retail investors in the company. According to CNBC, AMC opened a special portal on its website for individual investors to self-identify and register for loyalty rewards programs. The portal also contains special investor-only offers and company updates. 

Adam Aron, AMC’s CEO, encouraged the continued surge in retail investors. Not only has the company expanded its social media presence, but it also delayed its annual shareholder meeting to allow for more retail investors to attend. In a clear nod to the investors, who call themselves “apes,” Aron and the company will donate $50,000 to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. 

“During my five-plus year tenure as CEO at AMC, I’ve taken great pride in relationships I have forged with AMC’s owners,” Aron wrote in a statement on June 2. “With AMC Investor Connect, that effort in relationship building will continue apace even if our shareholders now number in the millions. After all, these people are the owners of AMC, and I work for them.”