AMC’s stadium-seat debut

Exhib set to open 16-screener in Burbank

AMC Entertainment, whose stadium-seat makeover of a Century City megaplex is still a year away, Friday debuts a new 16-screener in Burbank with movies including “The Hulk.”

A campy charity bash set for Wednesday will feature a different Kevin Bacon movie in each of the venue’s auditoriums. Proceeds benefit Earth Communications Office, a non-profit group active in environmental causes.

The new Burbank stadium-seater will replace a 14-screen venue across the street that’s less than 20 years old but lacks stadium seating. Elsewhere in Burbank, AMC operates a conventional eight-screener and a stadium-seat six-screener, both of which will continue to operate.

To date, AMC has managed to introduce stadium seating only in suburban L.A. locales, with other such sites including a recently added 12-screener in Anaheim’s downtown Disney development.

Popular on Variety

The suburban emphasis is “not by design,” AMC spokesman Rick King said Monday.

King said the makeover of AMC’s current theater in Century City — a commercial neighborhood in the heart of L.A. — is “getting close.” A review of the project by municipal officials is expected shortly, he said.

Plans call for boosting the screen count of the shopping mall-based cinema to 16 from a current 14, though seating capacity would remain level. “It’s ironic that the company that’s been the leading megaplex operator in the country is only now bringing a stadium-seat megaplex to central L.A.,” King said.

Rival exhib Pacific Theaters recently opened a 12-screen venue with stadium seating in Culver City, and last year opened state-of-the-art 14-screeners in midtown L.A. and Hollywood.

AMC’s Burbank cinema will supplement its normal ticket-booth operations with automated ticketing through kiosks available 24/7 for walk-up purchases. The machines will also dispense tickets to patrons who call ahead to reserve tickets.

AMC’s nearby 14-screener will close permanently Thursday night. An announcement is expected soon about plans to redevelop the property for other uses.