Shares of popular meme stock AMC have nearly quintupled over the past month, causing pain to short-sellers betting against the pandemic-hammered theater chain. Although the company faces a difficult path to recovery, its stock closed on Tuesday just a few dollars shy of its record high at $59.04.

Nearly 23 percent of AMC shares are pledged in short sales, according to MarketBeat. The investors betting against the chain suffered a collective loss of $512 million on Monday as the stock price surged, Reuters reported, citing data from Ortex. The stock rose another 3.6 percent on Tuesday, likely adding to the tally.

It is tempting to liken the situation to the unbridled rally of GameStop early this year. The declining brick-and-mortar retailer, also heavily shorted, rocketed over a period of days from less than $20 to nearly $350 per share on Jan. 27. Short-sellers, including some hedge funds, were “squeezed” and forced to cover their positions at a higher price.

That jaw-dropping surge was widely attributed to r/WallStreetBets, a Reddit forum of self-described “degenerates” who encouraged a buying frenzy amongst themselves. The mostly-amateur traders styled themselves as Davids v. Goliaths when their activity ended up costing veteran financial players billions of dollars — and turned some of the Redditors into millionaires.

This time, however, looks a little different. Although mentions of AMC on r/WallStreetBets have generally been bouncing up in May and June, the jump in the theater chain’s shares has followed a much more dramatic trajectory, according to data tracked by Thinknum. Discussions of the stock on the subreddit did, however, start picking up several days before AMC’s price started to intensely spike.

On May 23, when AMC’s shares were at $13.68, there were only 15 mentions of the stock on the subreddit. On May 26, the closing price was $26.52 and mentions rose to 242. Mentions of the stock peaked the next day at 731, while the closing price remained about the same. A few days later on June 1, AMC shares rocketed to $62.55, while mentions of the stock on the forum remained at 607.

Here is Thinknum data showing the closing price of AMC plotted against “occurrences,” or mentions of the stock on r/WallStreetBets.

Some news sources have suggested that AMC has “dethroned” GameStop as the meme stock of choice on the subreddit, although Thinknum data suggests that is not the case. The two stocks have been about equally popular topics on the forum over the past month or so. On June 7 for instance, there were 379 mentions of AMC and 359 mentions of GameStop.

Mentions of GameStop on the forum, meanwhile, surged to nearly 5,960 on Dec. 29, amid the massive short squeeze. This chart shows GameStop mentions on r/WallStreetBets in green, plotted against AMC mentions on the subreddit in blue.

Nonetheless, there is plenty of enthusiastic chatter happening on the web in conjunction with AMC’s rise. It’s just spread well beyond the r/WallStreetBets forum. One person leading the charge on AMC is 23-year-old Army officer Tremayne L. Collins, a YouTuber who has developed a following by borrowing slang from the subreddit — like “ape” for amateur investors in meme stocks and “tendies” for stock gains, according to Forbes. 

Twitter has also been a hotbed of activity for people boosting AMC and mimicking the attitude of the WallStreetBets traders. One Twitter user calling themselves The Masked Investor tweeted on Tuesday: “Nothing happens overnight. This is just another step in the right direction. Not End Game...yet. #AMC #GME #apestogetherstrong.”

Thinknum data shows that Twitter followers have jumped for AMC over the past few weeks, suggesting people interested in trading the stock are congregating on the site. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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