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AMC takes over former Pacific theater in Northridge after chain’s demise

Spider-Man holds a woman as they jump off a bridge in "Spider-Man: No Way Home."
MJ (Zendaya) and Spider-Man jump off a bridge in Sony Pictures’ “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
(Matt Kennedy)

The world’s largest cinema chain, AMC Theatres, keeps picking up movie theater locations orphaned by the collapse of Pacific Theatres and ArcLight Cinemas.

AMC said Wednesday that it has reached a lease agreement for the former 10-screen Pacific theater at Northridge Fashion Center mall. The Leawood, Kan., exhibitor also plans to begin running a 14-screen theater in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood that was previously an ArcLight cinema.

Both are expected to open in the spring.

These are the third and fourth Pacific and ArcLight theaters that AMC has taken over since Pacific Theatres Exhibition Corp., the parent company of the circuits, declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June to liquidate assets after failing to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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AMC reopened the ex-Pacific theaters at the Americana at Brand in Glendale and at the Grove shopping complex in Los Angeles. Both of those dining and retail centers are owned by real estate mogul Rick Caruso.

The closure of ArcLight and Pacific threw into question the future of the chain’s famed Cinerama Dome landmark on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. On Friday, the Times reported that plans were underway to reopen the Dome and adjacent former ArcLight Hollywood theater, though no timeline is set for the unveiling.

The historic movie theater has been closed since the start of the pandemic.

Decurion Corp., the Los Angeles-based real estate firm that owns the Hollywood theater property, has not commented publicly. A public notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages was placed outside the Dome Thursday, under the name DT Operator LLC, an entity associated with Decurion.

Led by Chief Executive Adam Aron, AMC spent much of the pandemic on the brink of bankruptcy after government restrictions closed theaters. Once theaters reopened, a lack of Hollywood movies and continued fears of the coronavirus kept moviegoers away.

But an influx of capital from retail traders and improving box office conditions helped buoy AMC’s stock, giving the company the confidence to aggressively buy up more locations.

The box office got a jolt last weekend with the release of Sony Pictures’ Marvel superhero film “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which grossed a spectacular $260 million in the U.S. and Canada during its opening weekend.

It remains to be seen whether the new “Spider-Man” marks a turning point for movie theaters, or if it’s simply a one-off hit that a lot of people wanted to see. Non-superhero films continue to struggle, especially those targeting older demographics, such as Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” and Guillermo Del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley.”

The accelerated transition to a streaming-dominated world produced a wave of experimentation, causing new levels of anxiety.

It also remains unclear what effect the fast-spreading Omicron variant will have on moviegoer attitudes. Older female filmgoers have been slow to return, while young people, and particularly young men, have been more willing to venture out.

The Northridge location further bolsters AMC’s position in the Los Angeles area, adding to major theaters it already operates including multiplexes in Burbank and Century City.


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