×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mann headed back to Cineamerica

WB, Par file offer to buy theater circuit

Having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month, the Mann Theater chain appears to be headed back into stewardship by Cineamerica — the joint Paramount-Warner Bros. exhibition venture that operated the circuit from 1986-97.

Pending court approval, former WB distribution prexy Barry Reardon will be in charge of assessing the relative strengths of the operation and solidifying its presence.

Cineamerica, which remains a signatory on contracts for most of the Mann sites, apparently stepped back into the fray both for its legal protection and to ensure the viability of the chain’s high-profile locations in Hollywood and Westwood.

The 374-screen Mann operation was acquired by investment firm Warburg Pincus (since renamed Warburg Dillon Read) in 1997 for $165 million. In January of this year, the company engaged Bear Stearns & Co. to find a buyer for the foundering circuit and attracted mild interest from Pacific Theaters and an investment group led by former Mann CEO Jeff Lewine. Both groups had made bids said to be in the neighborhood of $85 million-$90 million in cash.

“I think Warburg had an inflated sense of Mann’s worth,” said a senior exec at a rival chain. “They bought when there was a feeling on Wall Street that exhibition was booming. But they never had the management in place to grow, and the entire operation became increasingly antiquated.”

According to an internal assessment of the chain’s 54 locations in California and Colorado made earlier this year, two-thirds were not profitable.

Warner Bros. and Paramount have filed their offer to reacquire the circuit with the bankruptcy court; approval may take as long as three months. It’s common knowledge, however, that the studios have retained Reardon, who is operating out of Burbank, Calif. Mann’s current operator, WestStar Cinemas, is based in Encino, Calif.

“Until the transition is approved by the court, there’s very little that can be done officially,” Reardon conceded from his Warner Bros. office. “Even after it OKs the change in ownership, it has approval of anything contractual.”

But another studio source said it would be a relatively simple matter to sign over the running of sites to another exhibitor. Reardon, who retired last year, confirmed that his deal would not involve the daily operations of the circuit. He characterized his role as that of a troubleshooter sent in to clean up the situation. If there are no serious delays with the court, consolidation of the chain could be completed in eight to 12 months.

Most Mann locations are expected to be sold, with the most likely interest coming from Edwards, Syufy and United Artists circuits. Cineamerica will likely retain only its sites in Westwood, Hollywood, Santa Monica and, possibly, the San Fernando Valley.

More Biz

  • During an interview at her home

    Judith Krantz, Best-Selling Author and Columnist, Dies at 91

    Judith Krantz, a best-selling author known for her novels “Scruples” and “Princess Daisy,” died Saturday from natural causes, surrounded by family, friends and her four dogs at her Bel Air, California home, her publicist John Tellem confirmed. She was 91. Krantz began her career in journalism, working for Good Housekeeping writing freelance articles for Macleans, [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Soundgarden, Tupac and Tom Petty Estates Sue Universal Music Over Fire Damage

    Attorneys representing Soundgarden, Hole, Steve Earle and the estates of Tupac and Tom Petty today filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group over the master recordings destroyed in a 2008 fire, the extent of which was revealed last week in a New York Times article. The lawsuit, obtained by Variety, seeks some “50% of [...]

  • John Prine, Kamasi Washington, Sub Pop

    John Prine, Kamasi Washington, Sub Pop Win Big at A2IM Libera Awards

    Out of all the awards shows Variety Music attends every year — and we hit a few — in many ways A2IM’s Libera Awards, which celebrate the tight-knit independent label sector, is the most fun. It’s got awards and performances and a host and people get dressed up and all that, but at the end [...]

  • A trading post sports the Spotify

    Spotify Determines That It Overpaid Publishers in 2018, Requests Refund

    When calculating the new, higher rates determined by the U.S Copyright Royalty Board — which Spotify, Amazon, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora have appealed — Spotify has determined that it overpaid publishers in 2018 and would like a refund. “According to the new CRB regulations, we overpaid most publishers in 2018,” a Spotify spokeperson said. “While the [...]

  • Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri

    Los Angeles LGBT Center Opens New Campus for Community's Most Vulnerable

    When Donald Trump became president in 2016, some had grave concerns about what that could mean for the LGBTQ community. It gave such serious pause to the backers of the historic Los Angeles LGBT Center that they even considered scrapping plans to build their $142 million Anita May Rosenstein Campus in Hollywood. Then again, that [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Judge to Appoint Special Prosecutor in Jussie Smollett Case

    In yet another bizarre twist, a Chicago judge on Friday ordered the appointment of a special prosecutor to review the hoax case against “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett. Judge Michael Toomin ruled that State’s Attorney Kim Foxx should have appointed a special prosecutor when she opted to recuse herself early in the case. Instead, Foxx turned [...]

  • LGBT Rights Around the World

    The State of LGBTQ Rights Globally

    Pride is on the march across the globe as more and more countries recognize the freedom and rights of their LGBTQ citizens. Homosexuality is now legal in a majority of the world’s 195 nations — the latest, Botswana, joined the list June 11 — and marriage equality prevails in nearly 30 territories, covering more than [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content