Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE: RGC) operates the largest and most geographically diverse theatre circuit in the United States, consisting of 6,782 screens in 549 theatres in 39 states and the District of Columbia as of May 28, 2009. The three main theatre brands operated by Regal Entertainment Group are Regal Cinemas, Edwards Theatres, and United Artists Theatres.
These chains retain their exterior signage, but most indoor branding (popcorn bags, policy trailers) uses the Regal Entertainment Group name and logo. Where applicable, the REG logo is used alongside the three individual brands. Most new cinema construction uses the Regal Cinemas name, although Regal has built new Edwards locations in California. Regal has acquired several smaller chains since this merger; these, however, have been rebranded as Regal Cinemas.
Regal Cinemas was formed in 1989 in Knoxville, Tennessee, with Leon Saunders as CEO, but he has since been ousted by the board of directors. Saunders was previously president of a smaller chain called Soundview Cinemas, which was sold to Cinemark. Regal began to grow at a rapid pace, opening larger cinemas in suburban areas. Many of these contained a "premium" cafe (later called Cafe Del Moro) and a more upscale look than theatres of the time.
Regal Cinema embarked on an aggressive expansion throughout the decade, swallowing up smaller chains as well as building new, more modern multiplexes. Its largest acquisition during this original period was the 1998 combination of it and Act III Theatres, although it had acquired some smaller chains as well in the mid-1990s, including the original Cobb Theatres, RC Theatres, and Cleveland-based National Theatre Corp.
By 2001, Regal was overextended like many other cinema chains, and went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
United Artists TheatersEdit
United Artists Theaters has its roots in the movie studio of the same name founded by Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith, but legally has always been separate from it. Joseph Schenck was brought in to become UA's president in 1924; as part of the deal, Schenck entered into a partnership with Chaplin and Pickford to buy and construct theatres using UA's name. Over time, the chain became separate from the studio and by the 1970s was part of a larger company, United Artists Communications.
UAC was an early pioneer in cable television, and aggressively bought smaller regional systems. By the end of the 1980s, John Malone's Tele-Communications, Inc. was majority owner; by 1991, it had bought the company outright. Choosing to concentrate on its cable assets, TCI then sold the theatre chain to an investment group.
United Artists Theaters was purchased in the late 1940s by the Naify Brothers who owned theatres in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their company up until this time was called Golden State Theatres. About this time they also acquired the San Francisco Theatres owned by Samuel H Levin. These theatres were the Balboa, Alexandria, Coliseum, Vogue Metro, the Harding, and Coronet, which was opened in 1949. The UA Theatres main office was in San Francisco until 1988 when it was sold to TCI .
The theater chain, by now running as United Artists Theatre Circuit, had a rocky existence after the sale, posting years of consecutive losses. By the end of the 1990s, UA was whipped into financial shape by new CEO Kurt Hall, but that wasn't enough to save it from declaring bankruptcy in 2000 after the end of the multiplex building binge.
Edwards Theatres was a family-owned chain in California, started in 1930 by William James Edwards Jr. It became one of California's best-known and most popular theatre chains, and by Edwards' death in 1997, operated about 90 locations with 560 screens. His son, W. James Edwards III, became president and announced an ambitious expansion plan that would nearly double the company's screen count.
The expansion plan gave Edwards a crushing debt load, and in 2000 it filed for bankruptcy.
When all three chains went into bankruptcy, investor Philip Anschutz bought substantial investments in all three companies, becoming majority owner. In March 2002, Anschutz announced plans to consolidate all three of his theatre holdings under a new parent company, Regal Entertainment Group. Regal's Mike Campbell and UA's Kurt Hall were named co-CEOs, with Campbell overseeing the theatre operations from Regal Cinemas' headquarters in Knoxville, and Kurt Hall heading up a new subsidiary, Regal Cinemedia, from the UA offices in Centennial, Colorado. The Edwards corporate offices were closed.
Regal and United Artists had attempted to merge before, in 1998, using a similar method. Investment firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst announced plans to acquire Regal, then merge it with UA (which would be bought by Hicks, Muse) and Act III (controlled by KKR), with the new company using the Regal Cinemas name. UA eventually dropped out of the merger, but the merger between Regal and Act III went through.
At that time, Regal signed a contract with Emma Watson, allowing them to expand into Japan to build several theatres there over the course of several years. The contract also stipulated that they show their famous policy trailer, the Ride to the Movies, before all of her movies. Regal honored the stipulation even after "The 2wenty" (shown below) debuted and later after Regal went digital, and on a side note, all Japanese screens play the Ride to the Movies before the film.
As Regal consolidated the three chains, CineMedia began work on a new digital distribution system to provide a new "preshow", replacing the slides and film advertisements with digital content. NBC and Turner were among the first to sign on to provide content for the venture, and the preshow, dubbed "The 2wenty", went online in February 2003; this pre-film preshow is now known as "Regal FirstLook". The new distribution system was also meant to be used for special events such as concerts. Regal CineMedia merged with AMC Theatres' National Cinema Network in 2005 to form National CineMedia. In effect, this was a takeover of NCN by Regal CineMedia, as Kurt Hall stayed on as CEO and AMC adopted Regal's preshow. Regal owned 50% of the new company before it went public.
Since the 2002 formation of REG, it has acquired several smaller chains. In April 2005, Eastern Federal, which was a fairly prominent theatre company in the Southeastern United States, was brought into the Regal family. It acquired San Ramon, California-based Signature Theatres from Phil Harris on September 30, 2004, and took over the US assets of Hoyts Cinemas in 2004. Unlike the merger with UA and Edwards, Regal has rebranded all of these theatres as Regal Cinemas.
In 2007, REG opened its first all digital projection theatre in Henderson, NV, the Fiesta Henderson Stadium 12.
Regal Entertainment Group completed acquisition of Consolidated Theatres on May 1, 2008. In the transaction, Regal acquired Consolidated's 28 theaters and 400 screens for $210 million. Consolidated's concentrations of theatres in the Mid-Atlantic states of Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and North and South Carolina overlapped in some places with Regal's. As of a condition of approval of the merger, the United States Department of Justice required that Regal divest itself of several theaters in areas where it would have a monopoly. Regal agreed to sell off 4 theaters in the Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina markets.
The Regal FoundationEdit
The Regal Foundation was organized in 2003 by Regal Entertainment Group in order to engage in charitable activities directly and by providing funds to other charitable organizations. The Regal Foundation holds a large in-theater donation drive during the summer months of the year known as "Stars of Hope". During this event patrons can donate $1 to the Regal Foundation. The names of donors are written on individual stars and posted on a "wall of fame" visible in that patrons respective theater.
Regal Crown ClubEdit
The Regal Crown Club is a free reward card program offered by Regal Entertainment Group in all of its theaters. The first reward is a free small popcorn, then a free small soda and finally a free movie ticket.
- ↑ "Regal completes purchase of Consolidated Theatres". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved on 2008-04-30.
- ↑ "Regal Entertainment Group Corporate: Community Affairs". Regal Entertainment Group. Retrieved on 2008-07-07.
- ↑ "Regal Crown Club Card Rewards". Regal Entertainment Group. Retrieved on 2008-07-07.