Regal Movie Theatres Says It Will Spend $250 Million Upgrading Its Movie Theatres

Regal Cinemas, the second-largest movie theater chain in the U.S., has secured $250 million to give its locations an upgrade, the exhibitor said on Tuesday.

The raise is intended to boost its already existing locations (425 theaters across the country) with enhancements like luxury recliners and other amenities. Regal is owned by embattled theater giant Cineworld, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2022 and emerged from its financial restructuring process last year.

“Regal has been executing on its business plan with results through the first quarter that exceeded our expectations providing one of the strongest balance sheets in the business,” stated Regal chief financial officer Thomas Song. “As we invest in providing the best moviegoing experience, our customers will enjoy in-theatre improvements coupled with a very compelling movie slate through the end of the year.”

Song, who joined Regal in March as part of a slew of executive appointments for Cineworld post-bankruptcy, added, “As we identify theatres for these improvements, we encourage our landlords to also reach out with interest for their respective locations.”

Exhibitors like AMC Theatres, Cinemark and Marcus Theatres have focused for years on upgrades in order to draw moviegoers out of the house with a more premium experience. Boutique chains like Alamo Drafthouse (which was snapped up by Sony Pictures in June) have made their brand on offering consumers more amenities (like in-theater dining) than standard cinema locations.

Now, Regal appears to be looking to catch up as well after cutting multiple locations and shuttering screens last year amid its parent company’s Chapter 11 proceeding.

While moviegoing has been reignited by Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4 and Bad Boys: Ride or Die in recent weeks — domestic box office for July 5-7 hit $156 million — the year is still an uphill challenge for theater circuits that have seen fewer major tentpoles due to a combination of strike-related and pandemic production delays.

Year-to-date, domestic box office stands at $3.9 billion, down about 17 percent from 2023, per Comscore. There may be more slow days ahead in the short-term. “Overall, for the quarter, we project box office receipts will be down a relatively modest 6 percent” year-over-year, wrote cinema chain analyst Eric Handler, of Roth MKM, in a July 8 report. “Our forecast assumes down months in July and August before turning positive in September.”

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