AMC, Planet H’wood team

Planet Hollywood and AMC Entertainment announced Thursday a joint venture to develop and operate a chain of complexes that combine moviegoing, dining and retail shopping.

The complexes, to be called Planet Movies by AMC, will initially consist of seven existing AMC megaplexes converted to include movie-themed decor as well as sit-down restaurants and a store selling branded merchandise. A site in West Los Angeles is on the drawing board.

Future plans call for building eight to 10 new complexes with a combined 200 to 250 screens during the next 18 to 24 months. After that, the venture anticipates rolling out additional units at the rate of five to 10 per year.

The companies will share equally in funding and ownership of the venture, but AMC will be responsible for operating the theater component, while Planet Hollywood will oversee the food and retail component.

The first converted site will be AMC’s Pleasure Island 24 in Orlando, Fla., which is situated across from Planet Hollywood’s most successful site and adjacent to Disney’s Pleasure Island entertainment complex.

No additional sites were announced, but Planet Hollywood chairman Keith Barish did say the venture would have a “strong presence in the Westside of Los Angeles.” AMC currently operates the Century 14 in Century City and the Santa Monica 7 on the Third Street Promenade.

Barish said a number of the new complexes would be located overseas. If so, the venture would dramatically expand AMC’s international presence. While Planet Hollywood currently has thriving locations in Asia, Africa and Europe, AMC’s only forays outside of the U.S. to date have been in Japan and Portugal.

‘Watershed event’

AMC has been a leader in exhibitors’ move to placing theaters in entertainment and retail complexes such as Pleasure Island and Southern California’s Ontario Mills. However, this marks the first time AMC has put a restaurant and retail business under its own roof.

“It’s a bit of a watershed event for us,” said Peter Brown, president of AMC Entertainment “It’s a real natural to do this with Planet Hollywood, given their movie theming and their connection to talent.”

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