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Carmike heads for Ch. 11

Circuit not likely to be picked up by rivals

HOLLYWOOD — Carmike Cinemas will likely file a long-awaited bankruptcy reorganization plan on Friday.

Few details of the planned restructuring have come to light. But unlike in other recent restructurings, it’s not expected that the Columbus, Ga.-based circuit will fall into the hands of any of the exhib industry’s current consolidators.

Entertainment entrepreneur Philip Anschutz has snapped up United Artists Theatres, is closing in on majority control of Edwards Theatres and has been angling for Regal Cinemas. Yet, Anschutz has not been able to make a run on Carmike.

A source close to the 2,200-screen circuit suggests that’s largely because Carmike’s balance sheet is in better shape than those of other big circuits seeking court-sponsored debt relief.

Carmike, like the rest of a dozen big exhibs filing for Chapter 11 reorgs in the past two years, has been hit with a cash crunch caused by heavy debt and cutthroat competish. Both the debt and competish are hangovers from a recent industrywide megaplex building binge.

Carmike was founded in 1982 by current topper Michael Patrick’s father, Carl Patrick. The circuit covers 35 U.S. states.

If its restructuring plan is quickly approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Carmike could emerge from reorg proceedings within a couple of months.

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