Chain purchased 32 theaters for around $240 million

The recent acquisitions of 48 Rave theaters by Cinemark and Carmike Cinemas mark the beginning of the next wave of consolidation on the exhibition front — especially as the digital revolution continues to corner local theater owners.

Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest theater chain, entered into an agreement to acquire 32 theaters from Rave Cinemas for approximately $240 million.

The Cinemark deal, which is subject to antitrust approval, comes just days after Carmike finalized a deal valued at nearly $120 million to acquire 16 multiplexes from Rave Reviews Cinema, a subsidiary of the Rave Motion Pictures brand.

“The acquisition of these high quality assets will further enhance Cinemark’s diversified domestic footprint, including the expansionof our presence in the New England market,” Cinemark CEO Tim Warner said in a statement.

This summer, Chinese conglom Dalian Wanda Group bought AMC Theaters for $2.6 billion in the largest acquisition of a U.S. firm by a Chinese corporation. The buyout marked the first major shake-up for the exhibition community after the stadium-seating induced fallout more than a decade ago.

Along with consolidation, insiders expect a potential trading scenario among exhibs whereby, two separate chains with equal holdings in the same area could swap theaters to wholly occupy a single market. The potential for such monopolies is making some film companies nervous.

Rave still has 13 theaters in operation under the company umbrella, though observers predict the remaining plexes will either sell or close.

The combined deals’ total 734 screens are fully digital, with some 40% 3D-capable. The Rave theaters sold also include 14 Imax screens as well as nine other premium large-format auditoriums.

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