Matt Riedl investigates the Regal atmosphere. jgreen@wichitaeagle.com
Matt Riedl investigates the Regal atmosphere. jgreen@wichitaeagle.com

Business

Warren Theatres has a new owner – again. Here’s what it could mean for moviegoers

By Jerry Siebenmark

jsiebenmark@wichitaeagle.com

December 05, 2017 10:48 AM

UPDATED December 05, 2017 12:27 PM

For the second time in less than a year, Wichita’s Warren Theatres has been acquired.

This time it will be by a British company, Cineworld Group, which announced Tuesday its plans to buy Regal Entertainment Group of Tennessee for $3.6 billion.

In May, Regal purchased the Wichita-based theater chain from its namesake, Bill Warren. That deal included East, West and Old Town Warren Theatres, the Palace Theatre and Movie Machine inside Towne West Square — as well as its theaters in Moore and Broken Arrow, Okla.

The deal, which is expected to be finalized in the first three months of 2018, would create the world’s second-largest movie theater chain by screens, with more than 9,500 screens in the U.S. and Europe.

Never miss a local story.

Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.

Here’s what we else we know about the deal and Cineworld:

▪ Cineworld’s stated strategy on its website is “to be the best place to watch a movie.”

▪ The company says it strives to have the latest audio and visual technology in its theaters, such as laser projectors, Dolby Atmos audio technology and 4DX motion picture technology, which offers features such as seats that rock in motion to action on a movie screen, lighting effects and scents.

▪ Admissions and box office revenue grew by double digit percentages at Cineworld between the first half of 2017 and the first half of 2016, according to the company’s latest financial report.

▪ Cineworld plans to “maintain a strong presence in … Knoxville,” the headquarters of Regal, according to a news release from Regal.

▪ Some of its theaters in the United Kingdom have Starbucks coffee shops inside them.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark