General Cinema Theatres Inc. and Robert Redford formally announced Wednesday a joint venture creating Sundance Cinemas.
Plans by Sundance to partner with a major circuit for a national theater chain devoted to specialized product have been in development for approximately two years. During that period such key exhibition players as Sony Theatres and Cineplex Odeon had kicked the tires prior to GCC stepping up for serious negotiations about six months ago.
While the statement provided little more than an intent and objective, Daily Variety had previously reported that the participants were mapping out sites in 12 to 15 cities to sprout up by January 1999. Additionally, the niche locations will comprise a combination of refurbished existing outlets and new venues.
The Sundance Institute had commissioned several market studies and hired industry project consultants to develop the business plan. However, the organization decided not to set up an infrastructure of operations and programming people until a deal was formalized. Presents plans are to bow a new unit under the Sundance umbrella specifically for the cinemas and autonomous from such established activities as its film festival and extensive workshop program.