Loews closing 3 Utah sites

Affected theaters in Orem, Trolley Square and Sandy

Deseret News, 15 February 2001, page A1

Article Summary:

On 15 February 2001, New York-based Loews Cineplex, the nation's largest publicly traded theater chain, filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 bankruptcy. An investor group has agreed to buy the troubled theater chain.

Loews Cineplex will close 21 of its theaters nationwide, including three in Utah. Trolley Square Cinemas, and University Mall Cinemas will close 19 February 2001. Southtown Cinemas will close 22 February 2001.

Lawrence J. Ruisi, president and chief executive officer of Loews Cineplex, said, "We believe the actions we are taking today will allow the company to move forward as a strong, well-capitalized entity with excellent sponsors at a time when many of our competitors in the North American film exhibition industry are experiencing severe financial constraints. The proposed transaction and related restructuring steps provide an opportunity to resolve our liquidity problems and other issues arising from the industrywide oversupply of theater screens."

Loews' bankruptcy is the latest in a trend that started last year when several big theater operators filed for bankruptcy protection. Industry analysts have said that the biggest theater owners raced to outdo each other in the 1990s by building lavish theater megaplexes with stadium seating and gourmet food -- moves that pleased theater patrons but played havoc with the theater owners' balance sheets.

Loews Cineplex was created by the 1998 merger of Cineplex Odeon and Loews Cineplex United States.