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Resort buys Metro hardtops

Theater chain reaches desert

Resort Theaters of America, the newly formed cinema chain headed by Brad Krevoy and Ron Leslie, has acquired all of the Metropolitan Theater Corp.’s Palm Springs area complexes, including four sites under development, totaling 85 screens.

As part of the deal, which sources said was worth approximately $20 million, Metropolitan receives an ownership stake in RTA, and will continue to play a prominent role in the operation of the desert theaters.

“This acquisition is right on target with our plan to develop state-of-the-art theaters in premier resort areas throughout America,” said Krevoy, RTA chairman.

Metropolitan president Bruce Corwin will serve on the RTA board of directors and his son David Corwin will serve as senior VP of operations and development.

Metropolitan senior execs including head film buyer Mike Doban, Bill Hughes, Alan Stokes, Joan Anderson and Fatima Dhalla will divide their time between Metropolitan and RTA, which will be headquartered at Metropolitan’s Los Angeles offices.

“This was really a great fit for us,” said Bruce Corwin. “We could sell, we could be a partner and we could keep our team in place.”

Blooming in desert

The deal gives RTA five existing desert-area theaters, comprising 45 screens: the Palm Springs Courtyard 10, the Palm Desert Town Center 10, the Cinema 3 in Palm Desert, the Metro 8 in Indio and the Metro 12 in San Jacinto.

Four stadium-seating projects in various stages of development will add an additional 40 screens: the Rancho 16 in Rancho Mirage, the La Quinta 8, the Desert Fashion Plaza 12 in Palm Springs and an 4 screen expansion and upgrade of the Palm Desert TownCenter Cinema.

Metropolitan will continue to own and operate 52 screens, including its Santa Barbara sites and Spanish-language houses in Southern California. The circuit continues to grow with a 10-plex in Calexico due to open later this month, and an 8-plex in Goleta set for a Thanksgiving debut.

Colorado partner

Metropolitan continues its partnership with Trans-Lux Theatres in Colorado.

Formed in 1998, RTA, is backed by New York investment group Crown Capital, Richland Gordon & Co. and Swedish media conglom Svensk Filmindustry.

It’s headed by Krevoy; Leslie, president and CEO; Peter Fornstam, head of international operations; and Richard Lawrence, exec VP and general counsel.

Last month, the company announced plans to build a five-plex in Aspen, Colorado.