Theater chain on the brain

posted by Michael Zoldessy on April 30, 2009 at 7:54 am

The upcoming sale of National Amusements certainly seems to provide a unique perspective on the current state of the exhibition industry.

The sale of the National Amusements circuit, the first major movie theater chain to come on the market in years, will test the depths of goodwill for an exhib biz whose stellar perf during a severe economic slump has given it newfound status.

National Amusements, owned by Sumner Redstone’s holding company and run by his daughter Shari Redstone, is the nation’s sixth-largest chain with well over 1,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada plus theaters in Latin America, Russia and the U.K. NAI is offering to sell its U.S. and U.K. businesses separately but wants to hold onto 17 locations in the Northeast, where it’s headquartered.

Read the full story in Variety.

Comments (7)

markp on April 30, 2009 at 11:38 am

What a shame. The once mighty empire is slowly being desolved.

John Fink
John Fink on May 1, 2009 at 5:43 am

It looks like those 17 they were holding on to are up on the block again, with the intention to hopefully selling off all US and UK assets leaving N/A with theaters in Russia and Latin America. Perhaps a name change is in order to International Amusements.

It’s a shame because the theater operations which were the best of every chain were not to blame, the credit markets are.

MPol on May 1, 2009 at 9:34 am

The only trouble is, movie534, is that these big chain movie theatres have all but killed off most of the independent movie palace theatres here in the United States and elsewhere. The fact that lots of these big franchise/chain multiplex cinemas are in trouble is, at least in part, their own doing, imho.

shoeshoe14 on May 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Exactly. For instance, take Friday’s. Their old ad campaign is that they wanted to be your neighborhood pub. But you cant be one if you are a cookie cutter (saves money, but no originality). Plus, these were located in shopping malls which aren’t in any neighborhood.

There needs to be a balance somewhere. Sure, they are part of the experience, but something needs to change.

MPol on May 2, 2009 at 9:07 am

Good point, shoeshoe14. One doesn’t have to have all the answers (I know that I don’t) to realize that
what’s been going on with the movie theatre industry for the past 30 or more years is seriously messed up and something has to be changed. Granted, the days when movie palace theatres were really part of the holding actions of towns and neighborhoods are pretty much gone forever, but I believe that more theatres should offer more choices in movies, and not just the schlocky stuff that’s so commonly played nowadays.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on May 5, 2009 at 3:08 pm

These cookie-cutter multiplex operations have paid off handsomely as customers swarmed to them at the expense of smaller theatres.

Viacom’s money troubles have nothing to do with their theatre operations. The theatres are being sold in order to help make the corporate giant’s interest payments.

danpetitpas on May 6, 2009 at 11:26 am

Yeah, Sumner Redstone bought the CBS TV network and Viacom, which owns Paramount Studios and cable TV networks. He believes the future is in production rather than exhibition, but ironically, the theaters are making money while the networks and studio are losing money, and he needs to sell off National Amusements to pay the interest on his loan. This will leave his daughter with hardly nothing to manage.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment