Entertainment Stocks Continue To Suffer Despite Improving Box Office Numbers

Kids are back in the classroom, and more folks are back working at the office. Even corporate travel seems in full swing as autumn commences. A complete return to normalcy leaves less in the way of free time for busy families across the country, but it’s important to take time to unplug. How about a trip to the movie theater? Or, if you are like so many consumers who bought a big-screen TV during the pandemic, that will do just fine, too.

Better Box Office Numbers In 2022, Still Lag Pre-Pandemic Totals

Summer Box Office Sales

Source: IMDbPro

For the rest of the year, after a strong summer box office season, we find the king of the hill is still Netflix (NASDAQ:).

Netflix Leads the Movie Release Count for the Remainder of the Year

Source: Wall Street Horizon

Our data reveal that the California-based $97 billion market cap company continues to dominate the pop culture scene. The streaming giant has a track record of scoring an increasing number of Academy Award nominations in recent years, too. The movie landscape continues to turn more toward at-home versus in-theater, but the stock is down a whopping 63% so far in 2022.

Netflix Shares Decline More Than 60% In 2022 Despite Prominence In US Movie Market

NFLX Daily Chart

Source: Stockcharts.com

Zooming out, the Communication Services sector has been the worst-performing area of the market year-to-date. Big drops in Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:), Alphabet (NASDAQ:), Walt Disney Company (NYSE:), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:), and so many others have weighed on the growth-heavy part of the Tech-Media-Telecom (TMT) niche of the U.S. equity market.

The sector’s Communication Services Select Sector SPDR® Fund (NYSE:) is down by nearly one-third in 2022.

Year-To-Date Sector Performances: Communication Services Leads Market Lower

Source: Stockcharts.com

Two Industry Conferences Ahead Of Earnings Season

First up is the UiPath Forward 5 2022 gathering in Las Vegas later this month. The Sept. 27 to 29 digital transformation event features many TMT company management teams providing updates and insights as to the future of technology and robot innovation.

Then comes the Edge Computing Expo Oct. 5-6 in California. Big data, the Internet of Things, and digital transformation are some of the key topics at this tech conference. Communication Services stalwarts like Netflix, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:), and AT&T (NYSE:) are expected to present.

Following conference season comes the all-important Q3 earnings period that kicks off in mid-October. The leading horse in the race for the most movies for the remainder of the year is also the first to issue results.

Will Bears Finally Chill?

Netflix has had some stunning share price reactions to earnings this year. The stock plunged 22% after reporting better than expected EPS numbers back in January and shares cratered again after the April . While early, the options market has priced in a more than 10% earnings-related stock price swing around its unconfirmed Oct. 18 third-quarter reporting date.

On the positive, be sure to look out for possible share buyback increase announcements amid a market with much lower equity valuations today versus a year ago and ahead of a new buyback tax that commences Jan. 1, 2023.

Expect fireworks this reporting season across the sector as volatility continues to run high. After Netflix’s numbers, AT&T, Comcast (NASDAQ:), Amazon, Warner Bros Discovery (NASDAQ:), and Roku (NASDAQ:) have earnings dates in late October.

The Bottom Line

Will Q4 bring cheers or jeers for the big movie companies? You, the investors, will be the critics. It is important to arm yourself with accurate forward-looking corporate event data so you stay ahead of the volatility. Like in so many sectors, the pandemic reshaped consumer behaviors, and some new entrants now dominate the entertainment industry. Staying on top of the latest trends is pivotal to managing risk.

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