Dine-in Theater Concept Juggles Good/bad News

By Robert Marich
   July 28, 2019-Two pieces of news are the latest signposts for the up-and-down movie theater business of exhibition.
   Cinepolis USA, which is the fast-growing U.S. arm of Mexican exhibitor, bought Moviehouse & Eatery, a dine-in theater chain. At
Founded in 2012, Moviehouse & Eatery "appeals to an affluent, family-oriented demographic"

the same time, leading dine-in theater chain iPic notified its investors it is suffering financial crunch.
   The meal-with-a-movie concept is popping up across the U.S., and is an innovation that exhibitors hope will breath new life into cinema.
  On the first news, seller Moviehouse & Eatery is a Texas-based dine-in movie theatre circuit with five operating locations and one under construction. Once its sale is consummated, buyer Cinépolis will operate 258 screens at 26 locations in 7 states in the United States. “This is a strategic transaction that will help us expand and strengthen our best-in-class luxury offer in this market and around the world,” Cinepolis chief operating officer Alejandro Ramírez Magaña said in a statement.
  Meanwhile, iPic—which is based in Boca Raton FL—notified investors days ago that it is facing a cash crunch that could push the theater chain into Chapter 11,” according to a Variety article by Brent Lang and Matt Donnelly. It owes millions of dollars in interest on loans from two pension funds. Ipic operates 123 screens in 16 locations. In such cases, the pension funds are creditors could foreclose or take an active role in management, instead of being passive financiers. They'll have a financial incentive to keep iPics going.
  These are two developments surfacing about the same time indicating the dine-in trends is still in a growth mode but suffering growing pains.
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