June 20, 2024

Hollywood had a rough year in many areas — but the stock market largely was not one of them.

Wall Street is poised to finish out 2023 up double digits: As of Dec. 27, the S&P 500 index has climbed 25% year to date and is nearing an all-time high record close. And in general, the majority of media companies saw their shares rise over the past 12 months, rebounding from a disastrous 2022.

Some experienced significant reversal in stock performance, led by Roku (up 134% between Jan. 3 and Dec. 26), as investors regained enthusiasm for its streaming outlook amid the company’s cost-cutting moves. Other gainers were Lions Gate (+89%), Amazon (+79%), Netflix (+67%), Apple (+55%), Comcast (+26%), Sony (+22%), Warner Bros. Discovery (+21%) and AMC Networks (+15%). Those with smaller bumps, but bumps nonetheless, include Endeavor (12%), Disney (+2.2%) and Imax (+2%).

Then there were the companies that didn’t fare as well. The leader in this unfortunate pack was theater chain AMC Entertainment (-84%): The stock boomed in 2021 after it achieved “meme stock” status with an influx of retail shareholders, then fell back to earth last year — and plummeted further in 2023. Shares of AMC Entertainment slumped 65% in August after it announced it would convert its preferred equity units, called “APE” shares, to common stock one year after they began trading in the market. Then in September, the stock fell more than 30% after the company disclosed plans to sell up to 40 million new shares to raise cash.

Others that fell a few pegs include Paramount Global (-10%), Nexstar Media Group (-6.2%) — which was among the only media stocks to end 2022 with its stock up higher — and Fox Corp. (-0.11%).

Of course, a how-it-started-vs.-how-it’s-going comparison doesn’t paint the entire picture. Many companies’ shares hit higher marks over the past 12 months only to fall from grace by the end of the year. However, this analysis does give a clear at-a-glance report card for the stock performance of Hollywood’s major players heading into 2024.

There are also recent moments that have moved the Wall Street needle in the final days of the year and need to be taken into account, like the early merger talks between Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount Global — which contributed to a drop in their respective share prices.

But in general, things are looking up for the industry after the rough way it rang in 2023.

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