Business

Another theater closing

By PAT JENKINS

Editor

Federal Way will be down to one movie theater after AMC Entertainment closes the SeaTac North complex Sept. 2.

The Labor Day closure will put 20 employees out of work, almost exactly one year after AMC closed its SeaTac South theater in SeaTac Mall.

In both cases, leases of the theater spaces expired, and Ž“AMCŽ’s strategy is to close older, obsolete theatersŽ” as leases end Ž“and build modern, megaplex theaters,Ž” said Rick King, company spokesman.

Gateway 8, part of Galaxy Theatres and located nearby at Gateway Center, will be the only moviehouse in the city after SeaTac North goes dark the final time.

King said the displaced workers will be given opportunities to be hired at AMCŽ’s seven remaining theaters in Washington. The nearest ones are in Seattle, Renton and Tacoma.

He said theaters like the six-screen SeaTac North, which opened in May 1983, are past their prime. The trend now is giant megaplexes, which feature 14 or more movie screens and stadium-style seating.

Ž“Moviegoers have responded overwhelmingly to megaplexes. TheyŽ’re more spacious, have more comfortable seating and bigger, faster concessions,Ž” King said.

He said attendance has been declining for several years at SeaTac North, which is located at 31600 20th Ave. S., just north of the mall where SeaTac South operated until last August.

Ž“ItŽ’s always a sad day when a theater closes. Many people have special memories,Ž” King said.

AMC hasnŽ’t ruled out returning to Federal Way some day, but there are no plans to open a new theater here, he said.

AMC Entertainment Inc., based in Kansas City, Mo., reported company-record revenues for the first quarter of fiscal year 2003, a period ending June 27, 2002. On a pro-formal basis, which treats AMCŽ’s General Cinema and Gulf States Theatres acquisitions as they occurred last year, revenues totalled $462 million ŽÐŽÐ up 19 percent from the same period a year ago, according to financial statements on the companyŽ’s Web site (www.amctheatres.com). The acquisition of Gulf States Theatres, announced earlier this year, brought five stadium-style megaplexes in the New Orleans, La. area into the AMC fold. All five of the Gulf States theatres were built since 1997.

AMC operates 249 theaters with a combined 3,547 screens in the United States, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

AMC was started in 1920 by Edward Durwood, whoŽ’d been running tent shows in the Midwest. Today, more than 60 percent of its theaters are megaplexes.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and by e-mail at editor@fedwaymirror.com

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