(Reuters) – U.S. movie stocks soared on Friday amid rising expectations for the Memorial Day weekend debut of the sequel to Tom Cruise’s blockbuster “Top Gun.”
Cinemark Holdings, AMC Entertainment Holdings and Imax Corp each rose more than 6% as ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ debuted in theaters, with box office analysts predicting the Paramount film will be one of the biggest box office hits of the summer.
The film was supposed to be released in 2020, but was delayed multiple times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shares of Paramount Global, formerly ViacomCBS, rose 3.5%.
Film review website Rotten Tomatoes showed the sequel to the 1986 blockbuster with a 97% rating from established film critics and a 99% rating from audience critics.
In the film, Cruise, 59, reprises his role as an arrogant Navy pilot, whose call sign is Maverick, with a penchant for authority.
Users of Stocktwits, popular with retail investors, posted memes about the film, along with links to reviews and other posts speculating it would boost related movie stocks.
Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at BoxOffice Pro, recently estimated that ticket sales will hit $100 million over Memorial Day weekend in the United States and Canada. That would make it the highest-grossing start to Cruise’s career.
AMC shares soared in 2021 amid a trading frenzy around several so-called meme stocks. So far in 2022, AMC’s stock has fallen 51%, while Cinemark has gained 6%.
(Reporting by Noel Randewich; additional reporting in New York by Lance Tupper; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)
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