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AMC Turns Chinese - Beijing Conglomerate Closes a $2.6B Purchase

by
September 4, 2012
Source: Deadline

AMC

"The Times They Are a-Changin'" You know those movies that always predict everything will be Chinese in the future? Maybe this is the start of us really heading in that direction. A press release and announcement has confirmed today that AMC Entertainment has been bought by a conglomerate called Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd., simply known as just Wanda. The company is a "leading Chinese private conglomerate and China's largest investor in cultural and entertainment activities" and they have purchased all of AMC Entertainment Holdings for $2.6 billion dollars, with the deal closing and going through as of today. Wow.

Gerry Lopez, chief executive officer and president of AMC, comments on this announcement saying: "All of us at AMC are thrilled about our future with Wanda. It allows us to continue expanding and innovating in what is the world's largest movie market. More so, we are enthusiastic about combining AMC's leadership in the U.S. with Wanda's leadership in China, the world's fastest-growing market. We strongly believe in our shared common interests in advancing the movie industry and we feel this partnership creates one of the world's premier location-based entertainment companies." China is, indeed, a fast growing entertainment market, but I would've expected someone from the U.S. to partner, not get bought outright in full like this.

The press release (via Deadline) also confirms: Wanda will operate AMC as a wholly owned subsidiary under its existing brand while investing up to an additional US$500 million in the unit over time to fund strategic and operating initiatives. AMC will continue to control film programming and remain headquartered in the Kansas City metropolitan area, with more than 17,000 associates operating theaters in 32 states across the U.S. Wanda itself operates 94 theaters, with 805 screens, which combined with AMC's 338 theaters with 4,865 screens, makes them the world's largest global cinema owner. The true motivation behind this deal.

I remember attending movies as a young kid at my local AMC when they were just another chain trying to get Americans in for some entertainment. I'm not concerned about this deal, I just find it interesting that AMC decided to sell itself entirely to a Chinese conglomerate. A sign of the times and the world we live in? I suppose so. I'm watching AMC closely and curious to see how things change, or improve, with this purchase.

Update: Here are a few more details about what this will do for AMC, courtesy of the LA Times: Wanda "is committed to invest $450 million in renovations and upgrades at AMC's 4,865 screens over the next four years. Already, $50 million has been set aside to pay down the company's debt." Wanda's chairman Wang Jianlin explains that, "my vision is that in three or four years, the reinvestment will give AMC an edge over competitors." They also confirm that "there would be no push to play Chinese movies in AMC's theaters and that there would be 'no restrictions' on what types of movies are screened." AMC's CEO adds that, "for us it will always be about what attracts an audience... That focus doesn't change at all." Good to hear all of this.

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  • Kyle
    I use to live in KC, and one of my friends father took early retirement because AMC was starting to clean house when this deal started.
  • DAVIDPD
    "Take my love, Take my land, Take me where I cannot stand. I don't care, I'm still free."
    • DAVIDPD
      Sigh...I guess there are some people who are unfamiliar with FIREFLY...I was just referring to the TV show (which takes place in the distant future) where in the USA and China merged to become the ruling body of the galaxy. Where most people can speak English and (some) Chinese.
      • Greg dinskisk
        "You can't take the sky from me..."
        • DAVIDPD
          Thank You.
          • Greg dinskisk
            Anytime. Firefly was possibly my favorite show, behind maybe Lost or MASH.
      • Akirakorn
        I see only 2 hours between your posts, so wondering why nobody noticed the quote and reference is kinda ridiculous.
        • DAVIDPD
          There was another post right after mine that was deleted. He told me to "f**K myself" and he hoped "I would die as soon as possible."
  • LosZombies
    Sooo...what does that mean for us?..
    • http://www.firstshowing.net/ Alex Billington
      Not exactly sure yet, we'll have to find out. The AMC publicity quote only says: "We now look forward to working with AMC’s CEO Gerry Lopez and his team to invest in and build on the company’s widely-recognized brand and the incomparable entertainment experience AMC offers to its millions of customers." And: "Wanda will operate AMC as a wholly owned subsidiary under its existing brand while investing up to an additional US$500 million in the unit over time to fund strategic and operating initiatives."
  • patrick
    american owned is a thing of the past
  • THEBATMAN
    oh man, this is kinda scary
  • marqwest
    I was just recently watching a movie over the weekend at a local AMC theatre. It was kind of odd that the first previews (before the recognizable ones) were seriously bad looking films. There were probably 3-4 trailers that looked like they were from over seas. They were extremely low budget, appearing as if they were heading straight to video. I looked at my watch just before the movie started and all the trailers combined totaled some 25-30 minutes worth of previews. To me that was kinda ridiculous. Don't get me wrong, I love going to the movies especially for the previews as part of the movie going experience. However, I felt really disturbed after having to sit through a handfull of garbage. I know that after the summer films are winding down, the previews kind of lean towards filler and bad horror films for halloween. But I have to say that a Thai movie trailer thats even lower in budget than its "Ong Bak" rip off has gotta be a push in the wrong direction for this company. That was just one example of trailers that I was expecting to turn into a "no texting please" commercial. So I now wonder how much of that was due to this news. Possibly as if the wheels were turning for some time, with influence from this new conglomerate.
  • jonsiwa
    columbia belongs to japanese Sony, just a question of time when belongs the other studios to the chineses
  • Boiler Bro Joe
    I'd rather have a Chinese company hiring American workers than an American company hiring Chinese workers. At least we have, you know, labor rights over here. This doesn't bother me in the least. If it means more Chinese movies start showing in mainstream theaters, that'd actually be pretty awesome.
    • http://supahdupah.myopenid.com/ SupahDupah
      More Chinese movies approved by the Chinese Communist Party. Yep, that sounds just fucking great!
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7YGEVuJ4mM Carpola
    The Chinese own America. Didn't they buy up all the debt?

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