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AMC, Loews Complete Deal to Consolidate

January 27, 2006|Lorenza Munoz | Times Staff Writer

AMC Entertainment Inc. and Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. said Thursday that they had completed their deal creating the nation's second-largest theater chain, behind Regal Entertainment Group.

Loews will be absorbed by AMC, which will manage about 415 theaters in 29 states. Neither of the private companies released details of the terms.

AMC Chief Executive Peter C. Brown said the deal would strengthen the company's ability to attract more audiences, particularly as theaters face increasing competition from home entertainment options. Brown acknowledged that last year's 8% drop in attendance had increased pressure on theater chains to make improvements.

"We are going to continue to innovate to make the moviegoing experience as good as it can be," Brown said.

But he noted that the theater business naturally ebbs and flows.

"If you look at a graph at our business, you could find very distinct cycles and they peak and they trough. We think we were on the trough last year," he said.

He noted that this year's box-office admissions were up 10% from a year earlier, led mainly by strong business from such diverse fare as the children's epic "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the horror film "Underworld: Evolution," the animated "Hoodwinked" and the adult drama "Brokeback Mountain."

Brown said the company would be consolidating some sites depending on the theaters' condition. AMC will remain based in Kansas City, Mo.

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