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Tim Richards, the affable chief executive of Vue Entertainment, admits that many industry executives feared this downturn would be different. Its data shows cinema admissions held up in the recessions of to , to , and to The Film Council's view is that people have scaled back on buying cars and holidaying abroad, and spent more on activities at home.
It also says that recession leads to an "increased demand for escapism as a psychological response". Mr Richards agrees, questioning whether feelgood Abba musical Mamma Mia! The quandary for Vue, as well as for UK competitors Odeon and Cineworld, is that profits depend on the Hollywood studios. The high-water mark for recent cinema attendance was when it hit million, but just two years later it was in the doldrums.
Mr Richards says: "Ultimately we are movie driven and Hollywood doesn't always get it right. In , the movies just didn't capture the imagination. Last year was superb. Cinema attendance was boosted by the success of Slumdog Millionaire and the latest Harry Potter movie. And then there was Avatar. Mr Richards believes the format is driving a new front in cinema. Cinemas have been showing rudimentary forms of 3D films since the s, but Mr Richards thinks the quantum leap of digital 3D began in earnest with Disney's release of Chicken Little in Last year, 14 films were released in the format and at least 20 are expected next year.
Mr Richards adds: "Avatar has taken 3D to the next level. I have no doubt there will be another level beyond that as it has caught the imagination. Vue has 68 cinema sites with a total of screens across the UK, and it is investing in state-of-the art digital projectors to replace those running 35mm film. It now has of these around the country and it opened its first digital multiplex in Hull. The move saves the studios billions of dollars in processing and transporting the 35mm prints, and in the US they have agreed to shoulder 75 per cent of the cost of replacing the projectors.
Mr Richards hopes a similar agreement will be signed in the UK by April. He points out that the new cinemas are a world away from the rundown flea pits of the s. Audience numbers peaked in the s but years of underinvestment led to hundreds of shabby cinemas that were left to decay. It has been pretty much straight-line growth ever since.
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The Vue chain is only six years old. Mr Richards had given up a lucrative career as a lawyer with Freshfields in London in , replying, on a whim, to an advert for a job at an entertainment company that turned out to be UCI, a joint venture between the Paramount and Universal studios. He joined rival Warner Brothers four years later but became frustrated, saying: "I saw the phenomenal amount of money spent and was thinking I could do it better and cheaper. I kept thinking, when are the shareholders going to wake up? We didn't have an office, and were living by the seat of our pants.
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My challenge at Vue has been to keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive. The next significant stage in the company's evolution was its decision to buy Warner Village's 36 UK cinemas, including the flagship in Leicester Square, in After the deal it was renamed Vue, discarding hundreds of names including simply "C".
Despite the significant investment in the name, it seems, the brand doesn't matter hugely. They can tell you about the services but not the name.
It's not very often that we go head-to-head; generally for customers there's a gravitational pull to whichever cinema is closer. That is why we are reasonably open on sharing best practice, because we all benefit. When one of the original private equity backers wanted to quit, Mr Richards oversaw a management buyout in , taking board and equity control.
It now has two minority shareholders in Bank of Scotland and private equity group Och-Ziff. He is infectious about cinema.
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What do I do when I'm not working? Watch a film. It's what I love, and when you can say that about your job it's great. For someone who grew up in Brazil before moving to Toronto at the age of 10, and who has worked in cities across the world, he says he is very comfortable in London at Vue. Nor does he believe his work is done because "cinema has to continually look at reinventing itself".
Vue comes up with ideas and tests them in select sites. Recent successes included introducing VIP seating, adult-only screenings and licensing the cinemas. The "evolution" scheme, which brought in beanbags, sofas, pods and VIP seats, however, "just didn't work," Mr Richards admits. Vue is investing heavily in its site in the Westfield shopping centre in London. The screen cinema will be all digital, with bigger screens than the Leicester Square complex, and with better sound.
It will also introduce VIP screens with leather reclining seats, with a "club room-style" wine bar and exclusive screening area. The chain is set to move into continental Europe, as well as show more live events. Broadcasts of a Take That concert sold out across the country, and the group is looking at putting computer game events on. Sport, including next year's football World Cup, is also looking lucrative. The mention of the Olympics comes with slight regret for Mr Richards, who quit school to ski competitively but gave up when he was I carried the torch recently, that's the closest I'll get.
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Mr Richards reckons cinema is seen as stronger than ever: "I've noticed a change in how other media industry players view our industry. Even three years ago they were predicting our demise. When the VHS came out many said that was it for cinema. Then with the DVD they said, 'this really is it' and now there's Blu-Ray, but we still haven't seen [the end of cinema. We are at a turning point in the industry and the next few years are going to be hugely exciting".
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Lib Dems. According to Variety , Stanley Durwood later claimed in that he "was standing in the lobby of his seat Roxy in Kansas City mulling over its poor grosses, when he realized he could double his box office by adding a second screen and still operate with the same size staff. The concept also provided more film choices at one location, drawing bigger crowds.
It also gave owners the flexibility to show big hits on more screens, and less reliance on any individual film that could turn out to be a bust. By the s, the company was experiencing strong growth. AMC had built and was operating a number of screen multiplex cinemas in the United Kingdom , including sites at locations such as Dudley and Tamworth.
These were subsequently bought and taken over by UCI. In , AMC pioneered the first North American megaplex , a theater that could accommodate thousands, when it opened the AMC Grand 24 in Dallas, Texas ;  the first megaplex in the world had been built by European chain Kinepolis in AMC's megaplexes were a success overseas as well. In January , the screen Great Northern theatre was opened in Manchester , which was later supplemented by the opening of a screen cinema on the Broadway Plaza site in Birmingham in October AMC's United Kingdom outlets typically serve a dual function; in addition to the normal cinema functions, they also cater to companies' business conferences which can make use of their projectors for displaying presentations.
The company used to have its headquarters in downtown Kansas City. After reaching a settlement with the state of Illinois in April regarding complaints from a disability rights organization, AMC pledged to equip all of its theaters in the state with captioning and description services by The disability rights group had accused the company of only providing closed captioning or audio description systems at some of its locations in the state. AMC had eight movie theatres in Canada. In July , four locations were sold to Cineplex Entertainment and two more locations were sold to Empire Theatres and later acquired by Landmark Cinemas.
The two remaining locations have since closed. Craig Ramsey was appointed as the interim CEO by the company board. Aron will also be a member of the company's board of directors. In March , AMC announced it would acquire competitor Carmike Cinemas ;  in July Carmike's management accepted a revised offer, pending regulatory and shareholder approval. This cost reduction will be accomplished by reducing operating hours and cutting staffing levels, and other measures. Over films from every major studio will be available to all subscribers.
AMC introduced stadium-style seating, in which the seats are placed on risers so that each person has an unobstructed view of the screen and have adjustable armrests that can be raised to create "Love Seat" style seating. Both of these features have become standard for nearly all movie theaters built today by all major chains. AMC offers a selection of premium formats at various theaters throughout the chain. Not every theater has a premium format offering, while those that do only offer 1 or 2 of the listed premium format offerings. Most theater locations are equipped to show 3D films in RealD 3D.
AMC created the now-defunct MovieWatcher program that rewarded frequent movie-goers similar to other rewards programs but featured innovative aspects. It was based on a points-per-movie-ticket-purchased system, with rewards varying from concessions to movie passes based on point-based level. However, points were limited to a maximum of four points per three-hour time period, which was equal to two tickets. AMC Stubs members also received a free size upgrade with every popcorn and drink they purchase for example, an AMC Stubs member can get a large popcorn for the price of a regular.
Other perks include birthday gifts and waived ticketing fees. Receipts or ticket stubs were required for manual adjustments. No more than four manual adjustments would be allowed per account in a single calendar month. Manual adjustments would be made for purchases made within 30 calendar days from date of original purchase. Drinks can be ordered to be drunken in the bar and lounge area or taken into the theater. Some AMC Dine-in theaters have their MacGuffins set up as a full service restaurant that can be accessed without having to pay for a movie ticket. AMC adheres to its own Rated R policy.
Slight differences exist per market, but nationwide, no person under age 17 is admitted into an R-rated film without a parent or guardian aged 21 or older purchasing their ticket and joining them in the theater. Those who do meet or exceed the age of 17 but look under the age of 25 must present a photo ID with name and date of birth to be admitted to such movies. The main AMC brand is being used at most locations and will include premium features such as recliner seating, reserved seating, MacGuffins bars, and large format auditoriums such as IMAX. These locations also have concession stands with "innovative" menus.
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These locations use the slogan "AMC Amazing" and use the main corporate logo see top for their branding. This brand is being used mostly in smaller markets with lower traffic, which replace Carmike Cinema's locations, which was acquired by AMC in These locations will function as value theaters and offer a refillable annual popcorn bucket program at those locations.
The brand logo for AMC Classic incorporates a re-designed version of the folded "C" graphical element from the Carmike brand logo and the brand will adopt Carmike's "America's Hometown Theatres" slogan. They also feature reserved seating with a button located by every seat to signal a server. These locations use the marketing slogan "Movies with a Menu" and use a logo depicting a fork in a film countdown circle.
The AMC Citywalk Stadium 19 located in Universal Studios Hollywood 's Citywalk was rebranded under this name in December , and was renovated and had its grand reopening on April 25, under the new brand. AMC has also had some endeavors that did not prove as viable, such as experimenting with 16 mm film for projection and selling microwave popcorn at concession stands in the South several years ago. While the majority of major releases have all three digital tracks, including SDDS, most independent and smaller-budget films only have Dolby Digital tracks, leaving many theaters in AMC's otherwise ultra-modern megaplexes showing films in analog sound.
Recently, [ when? AMC announced an agreement on March 26, , to convert 1, existing auditoriums to fully digital 3D screens using RealD technology. The Planet Movies by AMC venture planned to open complexes worldwide with the objective of having icon locations in major metropolitan and other select areas, like Orlando and Columbus.
Initially, seven existing, unnamed AMC megaplex theaters with more than combined screens were to be re-branded under a license arrangement to incorporate certain elements of the new concept. The initial seven re-branded locations were to include markets such as Orlando, Florida.
After the initial seven, the joint-venture planned to own and operate all subsequent units including 8 to 10 complexes with to screens planned to open over the next 18 to 24 months. Over the longer term, the venture anticipated rolling out units at the rate of 5 to 10 per year. From almost the very start, the well-publicized financial strains on Planet Hollywood hindered the project. The only Planet Movies location to actually open, a 30 screen megaplex, did so in the summer of at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio.
The continued poor financial performance of Planet Hollywood led the company to declare bankruptcy in December , and even before the first location had opened stated that "the joint venture has no definitive plans to expand this concept once the Columbus site is completed". As Planet Hollywood was preparing to emerge from bankruptcy in October their re-organization plan emphasized focus back on their core restaurant business and away from side-ventures like Planet Movies and their Cool Planet ice cream chain.
Today, it is an all-stadium-seating megaplex and has 19 screens, including IMAX. The program was announced in via the AMC Blog  and has been responsible for promoting and distributing all independent films to AMC theaters since. AMC has acquired multiple other theater chains throughout its history, resulting in a total of theaters with 5, screens in six countries:. In March , AMC bought General Cinema Corporation , which added 66 theaters with screens to the company assets,  as well as Gulf States Theaters, which had five theaters with 68 screens in the greater New Orleans area.
Paul markets. The early versions of stadium-style seating as built in had auditoriums configured with an entrance to a flat area in front of the screen for wheelchair users; persons sitting there had to either lean back or look up at an uncomfortable angle to see the screen. Able-bodied guests had to ascend the stairs to sit in the middle of the risers in order to have a comfortable line-of-sight with the screen.
AMC subsequently solved the problem in newer theaters by building full-stadium auditoriums where the main entrance is through a ramp that emerges onto a platform in the middle of the risers so that wheelchair users can enjoy optimal line-of-sight. However, the U. Department of Justice sued the company and obtained an order requiring AMC to retrofit over 1, screens in 95 multiplexes and megaplexes across the United States. The company successfully appealed the order to the U.
Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit , which ruled on December 5, ,  that the order was grossly overboard and violated AMC's due process rights under the Constitution of the United States. Therefore, the court ruled that it was unfair to AMC to retroactively hold it to a standard which did not exist at the time it began building stadium-style theaters.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the American movie theater chain. For the cable television channel operator of the same name, see AMC Networks. Movie theater chain.