AMC Theaters is making good on its announced plans to acquire more multiplexes at prime locations, as sources tell TheWrap that it is in final talks to take over operations of two cinemas in Los Angeles once owned by Pacific Theaters, the Grove and Americana.
The deal would be a natural fit as L.A. billionaire Rick Caruso — whose real estate firm, Caruso Affiliated, runs the two high-end shopping complexes — told reporters in April that his company intended to find a new operator for the theaters as quickly as possible after Pacific and premium sister company ArcLight Cinemas announced that they would not reopen their locations. While ArcLight provided a luxury experience with a focus on arthouse and prestige fare, Pacific served as a more traditional chain, screening wide releases, which would allow AMC to take over operations at the Grove and Americana with a smooth transition.
AMC and Caruso Affiliated did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
AMC has been on a wild ride on Wall Street this year, as meme stock traders have sent the chain’s stock as high as $64/share — an all-time peak for the company — and have kept it above $40 since the start of June. Along with embracing the millions of new shareholders, CEO Adam Aron announced at the start of June that AMC raised $230 million through a stock sale with the intent of using the money to both acquire new theaters and renovate existing ones, with Pacific and ArcLight locations specifically noted as targets.
Sources have told TheWrap that multiple ArcLight locations, specifically the cinemas at the Sherman Oaks Galleria and the El Paseo in Pasadena, have received letters of interest from multiple potential bidders. Since the chain’s closure, lawsuits by multiple landlords have been filed against Pacific and ArcLight seeking tens of millions in unpaid rent accrued since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down theaters nationwide.
Of all the shuttered ArcLight locations, the one with the murkiest future is the chain’s flagship location in Hollywood, which includes the historic Cinerama Dome and had become a beloved gathering place for Hollywood filmmakers and industry workers. While other locations were operating on leases, including the main structure of the Hollywood location, ArcLight’s parent company, Decurion, owns the land under the Cinerama Dome, further complicating a potential sale.