Loews and AMC to Sell 10 Theaters

posted by Ron Newman on December 23, 2005 at 7:10 am

Loews and AMC have agreed to each sell five theaters as a condition for the government to approve their merger next year. From the official press release:

“Five theaters from each circuit have been selected by the [uS Department of Justice and various state attorneys general] for sale as a condition to enable the companies to proceed with their transaction. The theaters are as follows:

AMC Fenway 13 (Boston)
AMC City North 14 (Chicago)
AMC Union Station 9 (D.C.)
AMC Kabuki 8 (San Francisco)
AMC Van Ness 14 (San Francisco)
Loews Webster Place 11 (Chicago)
Loews E-Walk 13 (New York City)
Loews (Cineplex Odeon) Meridian 16 (Seattle)
Loews Keystone 16 (Dallas)
Loews (Cineplex Odeon) Wisconsin Ave. 6 (D.C.)

It is anticipated that the sales process could take at least four months.

Comments (43)

CinemarkFan on December 23, 2005 at 8:03 am

I know someone will most likely scoop up City North 14, but I wonder if Webster Place’s time has run out? I hope not because I like that theatre.

shoeshoe14 on December 23, 2005 at 8:51 am

Will they offer competitive discount sale prices to people who aren’t corporations?

IanJudge on December 23, 2005 at 9:33 am

Interesting that in the Boston area, they are forced to sell one theater in Boston because otherwise they would control both first-run Boston venues, but in nearby Cambridge, where they control 2 of 3 first run venues they do not have to divest at all. Some of these divestment choices seem random, while others make sense (i.e. E-Walk across the street from the Empire).

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 23, 2005 at 9:45 am

Hi, Ian! This is the chance you’ve been waiting for, to expand the FEI circuit into Boston…

shoeshoe14 on December 23, 2005 at 10:33 am

You should call up and find out why. I’m a freelance reporter, so maybe I should. What is it, only some towns have anti-monopoly statutes?

jackeboy on December 23, 2005 at 1:17 pm

Does anyone know what happens to people in the AMC moviewatcher program? I have been accumulating points for a program in a chain that is about to close their theaters in the city I live.I tried calling one of AMC’S locations in San Francisco, but they have no clue.

IanJudge on December 23, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Hi Ron,

AMC Fenway is just a little out of our range in terms of cost and too large a place for FEI to consider given our current resources- plus it is a leased location and we are only interested in locations where we could buy the property as well as the operations…. now Loews Harvard Square is another story – it would kind of fit into our portfolio, so to speak, but it too is a very expensive piece of real estate. No word yet from AMC if they would be willing to part with other locations in the area.

David Wodeyla
David Wodeyla on December 23, 2005 at 5:14 pm

I heard that Landmark was interested. (how come this is beginning to sound like a thread from cinematour?)

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 23, 2005 at 5:23 pm

Will Clearview or United Artists take over the E-Walk?

CinemarkFan on December 23, 2005 at 5:51 pm

I would love to take over Webster Place and City North, but I’m nowhere near having money to own movie theatres.

jmarellano on December 24, 2005 at 6:35 am

jackeboy –

After the selling of both AMC’s in San Francisco, they will re-enter the market when they take over the Metreon. So keep the cards and points, you will still need them for the Metreon.

Michael R. Rambo Jr.
Michael R. Rambo Jr. on December 24, 2005 at 8:14 am

In regards to the E-Walk, I doubt Clearview would take it over, but I do see REG taking the E-Walk, under the Regal Cinemas name (They have been opening all their new theatres under the Regal name, keeping the UA and Edwards name for the older theatres.)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 24, 2005 at 8:25 am

Could any of these sales be Sundance Cinema’s opportunity to finally get off the ground?

IanJudge on December 24, 2005 at 9:02 am

I doubt it for Sundance – most of these AMC and Loews houses are standard-hollywood-fare locations, not art houses. Unless Sundance wants to get into the general audience business, I don’t think it would be a wise fit. Even in Boston where a new art house downtown is needed, 13 screens is just too much for strictly art house releases. The rumor on AMC Fenway is all about Showcase at this point. It would be Redstone’s first foray into the downtown area in decades.

RobertR on December 24, 2005 at 10:44 am

I fear for the Tower East, that would make a perfect Landmark house.

John Fink
John Fink on December 24, 2005 at 1:19 pm

Clearview is in financial troubles, Cablevision its parent company wanted to sell off the unit- I doubt they’re in shape to take over E-Walk. Regal is the most likely suiter, but I’d prefer if it went to National Amusements (which would be their first in Manhatten, although they have ventured in to other urban areas) or if Muvico used it to get in on the New York market (before they open across the river at Xandu in East Rutherford). And when Loews was up for bid a few years ago Cinemark was interested, could they grow from this, they’re Interstate Theatres unit did (back when they owned it) take over Regal Columbia Park in North Bergen, NJ and they do own a lone theater up in Hadley, MA, so they might want to snag a theater in a prestigous location.

As for Sundance Cinemas, back when they were at GC Redford never wanted to retrofit any of their locations to be Sundance Cinemas, he wanted all new constructions, some with idiotic features including a retractable roof in Portland, OR and natrual fiber seats.

gsmurph on December 24, 2005 at 7:10 pm

Hmmm…wonder what’ll happen to the Kabuki 8 and 1000 Van Ness?????

HowardBHaas on December 26, 2005 at 7:00 am

The joint company’s “losses” in Washington D.C. are of two multiplexes that aren’t stadium seated! The AMC Union Station was rendered redudant with Regal’s opening of a megaplex downtown, the Gallery Place. The same movies play. If Regal takes the Union Station lease, competition will actually be decreased in this downtown area district!
The Wisconsin Avenue opened 1987 so probably has a 20 year lease? My photo this holiday weekend at http://www.flickr.com/photos/howardbhaas/77637685/

JodarMovieFan on December 26, 2005 at 4:20 pm

If Wisconsin Avenue 6 goes independent, it would be nice to have counterprogramming to the traditional Hollywood fare. Auditoriums 4 and 5 had 70mm projection capabilities and were THX certified once upon a time, but am not sure if they still have the projection equipment or quality they once had. Perhaps it could become a cafe or bistro, in addition to showing movies. Otherwise, there is no real draw to go there since it is surrounded by nothing but offices, a McDonalds and Channel 9 TV studios.

AMC Union Station isn’t in a bad location since it is located in the food court at the train station. The auditoriums have the notoriety of being named for long lost DC movie gems of yesteryear. The Grand is the largest of the nine being THX certified.

HowardBHaas on December 26, 2005 at 4:42 pm

Wisconsin Avenue will likely be reused for mainstream Hollywood fare, at least until the lease expires. Arthouse fare exists in Washington at the downtown Landmark, at Dupont Circle, at the Avalon, and nearby at the AFI Silver. Looking at the DC area, I see National Amusements and Consolidated operating megaplexes, but their websites indicate preference for stadium seating. Crown operates one theater in the area. That leaves Regal as most likely to takeover, but we shall see.

I agree as to the locale. I used to live in D.C., and returned for a few days vacation. I was surprised by the dreadful walk from Tenleytown Metro to the Wisconsin Avenue Cinemas. So much more pleasant are Cleveland Park, with the fantastic Uptown Theatre, Friendship Heights with the AMC Mazza Gallerie, and Chevy Chase with the Avalon. All of those are real neighborhoods.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 28, 2005 at 4:10 am

Someone just now added the Wisconsin Avenue Cinema to CinemaTreasures. Anyone want to add Union Station too?

carolgrau on December 28, 2005 at 5:01 am

Fanny Mae will probably take over the Wisconsin since they used to lease the space all the time for presentations. They do not make 70MM film anymore, but the Wisconsin could probably run what is out there. The last 70MM film I ran there was Gettysburg. in theatre #4. It was always my favorite Theatre to work in DC. I will miss it allot.

John Fink
John Fink on December 28, 2005 at 5:02 am

Actually I think a condition of selling the theaters is that they have to remain first run, full priced houses. If all 10 were to become discount houses it would have the adverse effect of allow AMC to set prices in that region.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 28, 2005 at 5:38 am

Who is Fanny Mae and what other theatres do they run?

HowardBHaas on December 28, 2005 at 8:31 am

When I tried to add the Wisconsin Avenue over the weekend, it didn’t seem to want to take, but thanks to Ron, I see it is there. I just added the Union Station now, so perhaps it will take another few days to appear. These are the first theaters I’ve ever added! No doubt, later, I will add more from Washington, Philadelphia, and elsewhere.

John Fink
John Fink on December 28, 2005 at 8:48 am

Fanny Mae sounds like the housing organization (?) but if these theaters were to close (like for example if Boston Common outright closed or was bought by Interstate Theaters and became a discount house) AMC would have a stronghold over first run movie going and thats what the sale of these theaters is trying to dissolve.

BollywoodFlick on December 28, 2005 at 11:04 am

Does anybody know who is the contact point for the AMC Fenway 13 Boston. I can give a shot at it.

JodarMovieFan on December 28, 2005 at 5:28 pm

I don’t know why one would consider either Wisconsin Ave or Union Station 9 a ‘cinema treasure.’ They are both multiplexes with not a whole lot to treasure by either their ornateness, sheer size or lack of opulence. Hardly a treasure.

It can be agreed that patrons of either multiplex (myself included) can reminisce about movies seen there but that is just about it. Union Station 9 has the notoriety of being downtown and attracting mostly urban attendance and programming. At least Wisconsin Ave had 70mm projection capabilities but the lack of sufficient sound deadening material gave patrons the bonus of two soundtracks, for the price of one, in Auditorium 6, while the THX Grand trailer played next door in Auditorium 5.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 28, 2005 at 6:31 pm

I’ve never been to the Union Station cinema, but the fact that it’s in a historic building is enough to make it worth noting here.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 29, 2005 at 1:54 am

The Massachustts agreement specifically requires that the divested theatre be sold to “another first-run chain”. The California agreement says the buyer “must operate the theaters to exhibit first-run movies.” I don’t know what all the other agreements look like, but they probably have similar language.

As for Cambridge, the merger doesn’t change anything there — Loews now has two of three first-run theatres, there, and the combined AMC/Loews will still have the same two theatres when the merger is over. So the state doesn’t see any need for divestiture in Cambridge.

HowardBHaas on December 29, 2005 at 2:23 am

If movie theaters began with those constructed in the 1980’s, sure, there wouldn’t be any websites celebrating them!

My understanding is we are documenting all movie theaters.

We document the palaces, mostly built for silents, which in Washington D.C. there’s only one with an intact interior that survives downtown: the Warner, just as in Philadelphia there’s only one that survives downtown: the Boyd.

We also document the more modest single screen movie theaters, often Art Moderne that were built in the talkie era.

And, we also document the multiplexes and megaplexes. And, that includes lousy ones such as the Copley Plaza in Boston that Sacks opened in the 1980’s and which there are many comments on this website, including of its passing. As a law student in the early to mid 1980’s, I attended movies there, and that wasn’t a fun environment. Fun was the Charles' main single, and the big screen in the Cheri. The Charles & Cheri weren’t palaces, weren’t even historic movie houses from the pre-WW2 era, but were modern. They had large screens and large auditoriums.

The wonderful Cinema Treasures book documents all, but if I am wrong about this website, tell me!

As to the DC cinemas, the Wisconsin Avenue was lavishly built by a chain, Cineplex Odeon, that overspent (and eventually paid the price). Carpets, seats, granite benches in the foyers, testify to a grander environment than many other 1980’s theaters. Other companies were building multiplexes with screens that seem to range from 15 to 25 feet wide. The Wisconsin Avenue has two big houses with screens of about 35 to 40 feet wide! And, each of the small auditoriums was bigger than other multiplex construction: witness the auditorium size of the Dupont 5. I’ve only seen a few movies there, especially in the two big houses, a pleasant experience. I’m sorry to hear the sound bleads to a smaller auditorium.

Union Station was built with the features of the arches of the station incorporated within, and with other luxury touches, from what I read. I’ve seen it a billion times, but never seen a movie

It is possible that within a few years, both will be closed as they reach 20 and leases may expire. Neither was in the “yuck” category, rather both were among the best built in their time, and very popular for a long time.

John Fink
John Fink on December 29, 2005 at 4:06 am

See, I disagree with you in that I think the history of any theater is important to cinema studies, in the 1950’s when people started moving away from the cities and you had chains such as AMC and GC building suberban theaters (in malls ussually) that had to have an effect on the types of films made. Until Cinematour and Cinema Treasures the study of exhibition was really just a small footnote in Cinema Studies. So any theater impacting any culture could be determined to be a cinema treasure in that we can study its effects, not just those that are grand movie palaces of the studio era.

HowardBHaas on December 29, 2005 at 4:19 am

You disagree with my first line? Well, ok, you are correct, somebody would be studying theaters even just plainer more recent ones, for the reasons you state. However, I do believe that if movie theaters began with the ones of the 1980’s rather than the palaces & those before palaces, then most people writing on this site wouldn’t be doing so. Historians, marketing professionals, and others would study the newer theaters, but most people seem to be fans of the pre-WW2 elaborate houses. My best evidence is that many more recent houses aren’t even listed yet on this site, but the older ones are.

and, I do agree that all the cinemas are important to study and document! I just don’t think many people have as much interest in the recent ones as the number of people with keen interest in older ones.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 29, 2005 at 4:27 am

The purpose of this site has shifted some since I first visited it. Originally it contained only entries for the truly palatial or historic theatres. But eventually, people began adding newer theatres as well, because the opening of newer theatres is an important part of the history of the older ones (and why they closed, changed format, or turned into live venues).

For instance, Copley Place is nobody’s idea of a “cinema treasure”. But it is very important to the history of cinema exhibition in Boston, as evidenced by the large number of comments that it attracted after I added it to this site.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on December 29, 2005 at 9:21 am

We treasure all cinemas.

Chris Utley
Chris Utley on December 29, 2005 at 4:05 pm

I guess the new AMC/Loews will become the new monopoly on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. They’ll have 2 theatres bookending that whole block – Santa Monica 7 on the North side and Broadway 4 on the South side (with Mann’s Criterion 6 in the middle).

carolgrau on December 30, 2005 at 6:22 am

Fannie Mae is a real estate company that has most of the building at 4000 Wisconsin Ave.

John Fink
John Fink on May 26, 2006 at 6:09 pm

So…months later and still no word on buyers for all the complexes. I know Chicago, Union Station, and Kabuki have buyers, but (as far as I know and I’m hoping you’ll tell me otherwise) no word on Fenway and E-Walk, right?

Ironmonkey on August 15, 2006 at 11:29 am

Regal has E-walk…

TheRealThomas on August 6, 2007 at 10:14 am

do you know how many “Millions” have been guided in hollywood films from this location?

keep the theatre and renovate periodically, quite obviously

the real thomas :) :) :) :)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 6, 2007 at 10:16 am

I forgot all about this post. Regal eventually picked up Fenway as well.

TLSLOEWS on February 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

To bad Loews does not run Theatres anymore,those were the days.

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