Why did Kerasotes bail so quickly?

posted by Paul Fortini on November 1, 2010 at 4:40 am

I have a chain question that no one has seemed to answer. Why did Kerasotes Theaters bail so quickly out of the Chicagoland market? It seems they were doing a great job, building good new theatres and renovating others. For instance, they did a great job rehabbing the Webster Place Theatre. That theatre used to be so run down but it became a good cinema again.

Kerasotes seemed to do a great job managing its cinemas. They seemed genuinely interested in the movie-going experience. Their Five Buck Club Card was a great idea (being able to see any movie that was out for more than two weeks for only $5.00).

What happened? Why did they sell to AMC?

Theaters in this post

Comments (5)

Scott Neff
Scott Neff on November 1, 2010 at 5:27 am

I imagine it had something to do with a truckload of money and perhaps a desire to focus on higher end theatres with bars, restaurants and other amenities.

Bud K
Bud K on November 1, 2010 at 9:45 am

or using the line from the Godfather “we will make them a offer they can’t refuse”

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on November 1, 2010 at 1:40 pm

At least Kerasotes got to keep their Showplace theaters, which include the Secaucus loaction. Thankfully AMC didn’t buy that theater and turn it into an upscale version of the former two theaters.

John Fink
John Fink on November 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm

From what I heard other family members sold their steak to a private equity firm that wanted out of their investment (and a rather attractive rate of return). Rather than refinance to buy out the equity firm, they sold most of their chain and some properties off to AMC. Foreseeing this I assume the three theaters they kept were structured under a different entity and managed by Kerasotes Showplace, therefore they sold off the main company and its subsidiaries including land on which they previously owned theaters to AMC, and kept three of their new theaters.

This isn’t the first time a chain has sold out and restarted. Cobb sold out to Regal and then re-entered the market taking over a theatre project Regal while in Bankruptcy couldn’t commit to. The dude that owns The Grand and Am Star Theaters sold off his former chain to AMC and re-entered the market a few years later. Hopefully National Amusements will make a comeback and open a new theatre.

I do know interestingly enough that a few sites Kerasotes were planning were taken over by other chains: one in PA is listed on the developers website as being a Bow Tie Cinemas location, the other in Edison, NJ will be opened as an AMC (I’m guessing they wanted to keep their strong foothold along Route 1 with the 18-plex and Fork & Screen at Menlo Park).

As for the experience at Kerasotes, I found the Secacus Theatre to be very good: excellent popcorn, clean, solid (but digital) projection, free popcorn and soda refills (which is bad because the popcorn is so excellent). It’s a worth competitor to the nearby consistently excellent Edgewater Multiplex and they keep their prices low enough to compete with Columbia Park up the road. The annoying thing is they have a ticket taker and then another person that checks you ticket at the door: if they had reserved seating I could understand.

Does anyone know if Kerasotes has announced any new theatre projects? As for Chicagoland – they have one theatre in Chicago proper still operating – a brand new Showplace Icon.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on November 4, 2010 at 3:29 am

John,

I’ve been to the Icon once and I found it overwhelming and not in a good way.

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