Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Multiscreen Cinemas Battle for Position, Multimillion Revenue

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Multiscreen Cinemas Battle for Position, Multimillion Revenue

Article excerpt

America Multi-Cinema Inc. of Kansas City has plans to build a 24-screen theater complex in St. Peters in a development just east of Mid Rivers Mall. Meanwhile, Wehrenberg Theatres Inc. of St. Louis says it wants to expand its Mid Rivers Mall 6 Cine by up to eight screens, and it has plans to more than double the size of its St. Charles 10 Cine.

Call it Movie Star Wars.

At a St. Peters aldermanic meeting Jan. 11, Landon Development Corp. of Southfield, Mich., presented a proposal that would include a mega-entertainment complex anchored by the AMC Theater. It would be the second largest movie house in the country, and the largest in St. Louis. Landon also said AMC's 24-plex theater would do $27,659,688 in business.

That figure has drawn some attention.

A source in the St. Louis theater industry said the entire market does a gross of $30 million to $34 million a year.

Landon officials said that they got the nearly $27.7 million figure from AMC and that it was in line with the gross revenue from the nation's other 24-screen theater in Dallas, also owned by AMC.

According to Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations, AMC operates multi-screen picture theaters in 22 states and the District of Columbia. AMC has 232 theaters and 1,630 screens. It had net sales in 1995 of $564.7 million. That comes to $346,441 per screen, or $8,314,601 for a 24-screen theater.

If the St. Peters development includes a theater that produces $8.3 million in sales as opposed to $27.6 million, the sales tax generated would be sliced by a third.

Chuck Stilley, president of AMC real estate, said: "Our projections are proprietary. What we said we would do in St. Peters is what we expect to do. But it's all a guessing game."

Stilley wouldn't give a figure for the gross revenue of the Dallas 24-plex but said AMC had opened 20-plex theaters in San Diego, Independence, Mo., and Tampa, Fla. Along with the Dallas theater, they all rank nationally in the top 10 movie houses in gross receipts, he said.

He did not dispute the figures of gross revenue for the entire company from 1995 or the averages. "Standard & Poor's gets their information from our financial offices, so I have no reason to dispute those numbers," he said.

The discrepancy in figures is one of the reasons Mayor Tom Brown still hasn't signed an ordinance that the aldermen unanimously passed in favor of going ahead with the Landon/AMC development.

According to the figures in the Landon proposal, the development, which includes four restaurants, a book store and a home-furnishing store, would generate $1,780,632 in sales tax.

But that was with the theater generating $27.6 million in sales, not $8.3 million.

Ron Krueger, president of Wehrenberg Theaters, said his company would expect to do $6 to $7 million in sales at St. Charles 10 Cine if it is expanded to become St. …

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