AMC Theaters Retiring Carmike Name, Launching New Cinema Brands

Image courtesy of frankieleon

Seven months after buying Carmike Cinemas, AMC Entertainment Holdings — itself controlled by China’s Wanda Group — says it has a lot going on: It will be retiring the Carmike name and introducing a few new theater brands, including a “dine-in” themed chain. The company’s top boss also says AMC is considering proposals from Hollywood studios that would allow movie lovers to watch new releases at home sooner.

CEO Adam Aron said on an earnings call on Tuesday that AMC will be moving from a “one-brand company” to a “two-brand company”: AMC Theaters and AMC Classic Theaters, with a “Dine-In” sub-brand underneath that. So really, three brands.

The future of the recently acquired Carmike theaters depends on their size and location. Smaller, and smaller-market, Carmike venues will be rebranded as AMC Classic, featuring Coca-Cola Freestyle machines and refillable popcorn buckets. Larger Carmike theaters will get the “full-blown AMC style renovation with recliner seats, and IMAX and Dolby screens, and the whole bit,” Aron says.

The “Dine-In” sub-brand will consist of more than 50 theaters that are full-blown restaurant theaters that include complete restaurant kitchens to serve food to movie-watchers

That leaves no room for Carmike. Aron confirmed the demise of the 35-year-old brand, explaining that the AMC name is “more powerful in the marketplace than the Carmike name.”

Aron also confirmed a year-old rumor that AMC is looking into working with studios to bring new releases to movie fans at home sooner. He says there are several studios and some “third-party players” who are floating “proposals to alter the historic window where theaters have had 75 days to 90 days of exclusivity.”

He adds that these discussions have also included the idea of sharing home rental revenue with theaters.

“The reason we’re intrigued by all this is if this is done right and this is done intelligently and our revenue share is significant enough, we believe that we have the opportunity to grow and increase AMC revenues as a result of this activity,” Aron says.

He doesn’t see it as a risky move, either — just the opposite.

“If we do this right, this is a chance to expand the reach of the domestic box office in that first 90 day period beyond its current $11.4 billion,” he said. “And we could get paid handsomely in the process.”

As for when this could happen, if it does at all, Aron says there could be a deal in months, or nothing could happen at all.

“There are so many proposals floating around, people having different views,” he said. “A consensus is going to need to emerge for this not to be a one-company, one-studio deal, but more of an industrywide effort.”

[via Bloomberg]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.