National Amusements theater auction sparks interest

posted by Michael Zoldessy on March 30, 2009 at 7:45 am

Despite the economy and the state of moviegoing, a sale of some National Amusements locations has generated quite a few queries.

Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements has received interest from strategic rivals and private equity firms for its U.S. and U.K. theater chains, two sources with knowledge of the auction said.

Sales books started going out in early March to nearly 60 parties for the U.S. theaters and to about 20 for the U.K. screens, the sources said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the details of the sale have not been made public.

Two separate auctions, likely to help National Amusements pay about half its looming debt obligations, include 54 theaters in the United States and 21 screens in the United Kingdom.

Read the full story at Reuters.

Comments (10)

markp on March 30, 2009 at 9:13 am

That sound you hear is the once mighty Redstone empire slowly crumbling away.

ThomasRossi007 on March 30, 2009 at 10:29 am

But a Reuters story a day earlier said nobody wanted to buy all the theaters as one lot, potential buyers want to pick and choose individual theaters and this makes sense for them. Also, some northeast theaters will be in fact sold or closed, and this includes Hawthorne, Bronx E 161 Street and possibly Cross County, Yonkers which may have it’s 20 year lease taken over by Regal. This is extremely problematic as Redstone wanted to close this theater when his new one 2 miles north opens at the Ridge Hill mixed use site on the thruway. Many patrons driving north will still make Cross County their first stop, this is exactly what happened in 1993 when this theater first opened and UA Movieland and GCC Central Plaza both lost patrons. So Redstone will end up competing with his own theater…

HowardBHaas on March 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm

In the Philadelphia area, nobody has better movie projection than the Bridge (at Penn). I hope Ntl Amusements does not sell the lease!

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on March 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm

Rising Star [Former name: CineBridge Ventures], is a joint venture between National Amusements and Soquel Ventures, Russia, operates the KinoStar Theatres in Russia, as well as “The Bridge: Cinema De Lux” theatres in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The Bridge Philadelphia also has The University of Pennsylvania as a partner.

So, I believe, those 2 NA Theatres, as well as the NA “Cinema De Lux” Theatres (Island 16, City Center 15, Connecticut Post 14, Stonybrook 20, Florence 14, Preston 16, Blackstone Valley 14, Patriot Place 14, The Greene 14, Springdale 18) are safe.

JodarMovieFan on March 30, 2009 at 4:56 pm

As long as its not Regal and/or AMC that buy them out, I’m fine with it. These two chains pretty much monopolize the venues in the Washington DC Metro area. As such, they pretty much book the same fare all the time. Even the DP prints or 3D Digital prints get booked in the same venues even if they are relatively close to each other.

steelbeard1 on March 30, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Michigan has only two NA theaters left, the Showcase Cinemas locations in Ann Arbor and Flint. In the Flint area, NA has two vacant properties, the former Showcase Cinemas in Burton and the Miracle Twin Drive-in Theatre.

markp on March 31, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Slowly crumbling…

e1337n00b on March 31, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I just hope they don’t sell all of the theatres in CT, Showcase Buckland Hills is the best within 20 miles of me, and if i’m not going with a huge group of friends(who usually go to Loews Plainville, where we just end up most of the time)and I’m driving, we go to Buckland. Always a good presentation, the small theaters here have bigger screens than Plainville’s smaller top-masking screens. All screens here are side-masking. If they sell any they can sell Southington or Berlin. Can you imagine if AMC or Regal took over a well-maitained theater like Buckland.

Vito on April 1, 2009 at 4:40 am

Just a comment abut NA
It was written somewhere that when NA began the restructuring of the theatre division that all the DMs were fired. This was not the case.
Although the District Offices were all closed, the DMs and their Secretaries were offered two options.
Most of the DMs, who are friends of mine, chose to take the new position of City Manager that was offered to them, while a couple of them took a very generous severange package. VERY GENEROUS!
The secretaries were all offered alternative positions or they could also take a severence package. It was true to NAs style of loyality to their employees.

My information is that Current plans are to sell 54 US theatres and 20 cinemas in the UK. Not for sale is a group of 17 theatres in the northeast of the US, which Shari Redstone intends to keep.

e1337n00b on April 1, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Anyone know which ones, as long as it’s not Buckland Hills. I wouldn’t think they would because it is now a Cinema DeLux

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