Connect with us

Business News

Movie theaters aren’t dying — they’re evolving



Girl watching a comedy movie at the cinema with her friend.

Rgstudio | E+ | Getty Images

LOS ANGELES — The movies are still big. It’s the multiplexes that are getting smaller.

Since 2019, the number of total screens in the U.S. have decreased by around 3,000 to just under 40,000.

This consolidation was a direct result of the Covid pandemic, which shut down theaters for a time and triggered a surge in streaming subscriptions. A number of regional chains have shuttered for good, while others were left to reevaluate their financial footing. For many, that meant closing locations or selling off leases.

“Think about retail out there in general, it’s repositioning itself, you don’t have as many of the same branded stores in the marketplace,” said Rolando Rodriguez, chairman of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “Consumers are a lot more selective, and I think that for the economics that are necessary, you’re not going to see these 30-plexes anymore.”

Rodriguez said that most newly built locations will range between 12 and 16 screens and those with larger, preexisting footprints will look to repurpose some space for supplementary activities for moviegoers, like arcades, bowling alleys or bars.

Theaters have been forced to innovate, even as Hollywood production returns to normal and studios offer more movies for release than they were able to during the earlier stages of the pandemic.

As the space contracts, cinema operators are investing in the basics, improving sounds, picture quality and seating as well as in bolstering its food and beverage offerings, events and alternative programming. The aim is to improve the baseline experience for moviegoers regardless of the type of ticket they purchase.

“We do better when people get in the habit of seeing,” said Larry Etter, senior vice president at family-owned regional chain Malco Theatres. “And I think that’s what’s going to happen. I think we’re going to recreate the habitual effect that on Friday nights or Saturday nights or whatever it is, we’re gonna go to the movies.”

The premium push

Already, the industry is seeing improvements in ticket sales. Through Monday, the 2023 box office has tallied $958.5 million in ticket sales, up nearly 50% compared to last year and down just 25% from 2019, according to data from Comscore.

This is a marked improvement from the meager $98.7 million box office tally during the same period in 2021.

Foot traffic has also improved, but continues to linger behind pre-pandemic levels. In the two decades before the pandemic, the industry sold an average of 1.1 billion tickets per year, according to data from EntTelligence. Even as Covid restrictions were lifted in 2022, just more than half that number of tickets were sold for the year. And ticket sales should rise in 2023 as studios release more films.

While cinema operators are pleased that studio production has increased, they are no longer taking audiences for granted.

To that end, operators have started with upgrading projectors. Over the last few years, movie theater operators have been removing traditional digital projectors and installing laser units, citing cost savings over time and a better picture quality for moviegoers.

“It’s a little bit expensive, but it will produce a better product on the screen,” Malco’s Etter said. “The more light you have the clearer everything is and the easier it is to see. And it will be much more economical. It’s sustainable because you are going to use about 60% of the utilities that you did before.”

Etter explained that traditional digital bulbs need to be replaced after around 2,000 hours and produce so much heat that theaters have to pay more to air-condition the projector rooms. And laser components last for 20,000 hours so they can go years without being replaced.

Many theater operators told CNBC they are planning similar upgrades to sound systems, saying they have partnered with companies like Dolby to bring quality speakers into their auditoriums.

“We’ve invest in Dolby Atmos, we’ve invested in new screens, we’ve invested in laser projection,” said Rich Daughtridge, president and CEO of Warehouse Cinemas. “To me, that’s baseline. I feel like you have to create the best sound and picture experience you can create to get people motivated to spend money to come out to the cinema.”

General atmosphere during the IMAX private screening for the movie: “First Man” at the IMAX AMC Theater on October 10, 2018 in New York City.

Lars Niki | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Across the industry, theater chains big and small are also replacing outdated stadium seating with recliners in a bid to improve the overall cinema experience.

“[We are] really looking at our theaters and making sure all of them are amazing,” said Shelli Taylor, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse. “So if they don’t have recliners, we’re going in and we’re upgrading. We’re giving face-lifts where needed and just really refreshing and making sure that we continue to deliver that premium experience which people grow to love and expect from Alamo.”

These improvements are part of a wider trend that started prior to the pandemic. Consumers have begun to opt for more premium theatrical experiences for blockbuster features, choosing to pay more money to see films on bigger screens or in specialized theaters.

In 2022, 15% of all domestic tickets sold were for premium screenings, with the average ticket costing $15.92, according to EntTelligence data. A standard ticket costs an average of $11.29.

So far in 2023, that premium ticket average is higher — $17.33 each — because so many moviegoers saw Disney’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” in premium formats and 3D.

Event cinema, niche programming

Big blockbusters have always been a driving force of ticket sales for cinemas. Before the pandemic, theater owners relied predominantly on studio advertising — trailers, TV spots and posters — to promote content and drive moviegoers to cinemas. Now, they are putting more in that mix.

Loyalty programs, direct marketing and special events are some of the recent tactics operators have employed to bring in audiences. AMC launched its first-ever advertising campaign in 2021 featuring Nicole Kidman with the tagline “We make movies better.” The company invested around $25 million in the campaign.

Budget-conscious smaller chains have to be a little more creative.

“I’ve had lots of conversations with distributors just talking about better and more efficient ways to market their films,” Warehouse’s Daughtridge said. “Often, that is data marketing and paid social, better trailer placements and [putting] tickets on sale at the right time.”

“I think there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit,” he said of email lists, loyalty programs and social media for personalized marketing.

Warehouse, which will soon open its third location, has also run promotions that range from offering margaritas with movie tickets to special “daddy-daughter” date night showings. Mid-pandemic, Warehouse Cinemas capitalized on the release of Solstice Studio’s “Unhinged” by hosting a car smash event during the film’s fifth week in theaters.

More recently, the chain held “pajamas and popcorn,” a promotion that entitled customers who wore PJs to the cinema a free popcorn. During that promotion, the company showed an Indiana Jones film and the classic animated dinosaur film “The Land Before Time.” Tickets were $5 each.

“The Land Before Time” showings sold 1,400 tickets, Daughtridge said.

“It was one of those events that just popped off,” he said. “We didn’t expect it to do that much business.”

For big chains like AMC, Regal and Cinemark, alternative programming has come in the form of live events, with cinemas setting up streams for concerts, sports and even Dungeons & Dragons campaigns.

Mid-sized chains like Alamo Drafthouse are even delving into the whimsical. When Oscar favorite “Everything Everywhere All at Once” played in cinemas, the theater chain passed out hot dogs to ticket buyers who went to its “feast” event to mark the famous hot dog fingers scene in the film.

Still from A24’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”


The company also worked with the Lincoln Zoo ahead of the opening of its new location in the Chicago neighborhood of Wrigleyville to do an outdoor screening of “The Lion King” in the lions’ den at the zoo.

Alamo isn’t the only chain innovating with food and beverages. Concessions have long been a staple at the cinema, but in recent years theater owners have expanded on the traditional popcorn and soda fare.

Cinepolis, which operates more than two dozen cinemas in eight states, is a luxury dine-in theater chain that offers a wide variety of food and beverages, ranging from chicken wings to lobster tacos. Cinepolis hosts “movie and a meal,” a specialized dinner that is catered to a specific new film release.

“For us, the food is crucial for local experience,” Cinepolis CEO Luis Olloqui said, noting how more people have big high-definition TVs at home, coupled with the ability to order out from top notch restaurants.

This trend isn’t likely to slow down, and industry insiders are optimistic about the future of the movie theater business.

“I think we, unfortunately, had some very bad public relation aspects through the course of Covid,” said Rodriguez of the National Association of Theatre Owners. “And now we have to kind of rebuild that muscle with the consumers and remind them, ‘Hey, you know, that’s behind us. Theaters are fine.'”

Business News

From Cartel to Evangelist: The Inspiring Journey of Juan Reyes, Puerto Rico’s Entrepreneur and Author



Juan Reyes

In the realm of entrepreneurship, few stories are as captivating and inspiring as that of Juan Reyes, a self-made entrepreneur and author hailing from Juncos, Puerto Rico. Despite being born into a low-income family, Reyes defied the odds and carved his path to success through sheer determination, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to his goals. From establishing thriving businesses to becoming a renowned author, Reyes’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the indomitable spirit of an individual driven by faith and dedication.

A Journey Born out of Necessity

Growing up in Juncos, Puerto Rico, Juan Reyes faced significant challenges stemming from his family’s financial limitations. To support himself and contribute to his family’s well-being, Reyes began working from a young age. However, he never allowed his circumstances to dampen his dreams or extinguish his ambition. Determined to change his destiny, Reyes embarked on a path that would not only uplift his own life but also inspire countless others.

A Multifaceted Entrepreneur

Reyes’s entrepreneurial acumen led him to establish several successful ventures that have made a profound impact. Among his notable accomplishments are King of Credit Repair LLC, KCL Clothing Inc, and Shalom Renovation LLC. These enterprises not only generated substantial revenue but also provided employment opportunities for others. Reyes’s astute understanding of business markets, coupled with his expertise in real estate, notary services, modeling, and preaching, contributed to his ability to transform businesses from scratch into multi-million dollar ventures.

Authorship and Beyond 

In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Juan Reyes is also a respected author. His debut book, “From the Cartel to the Evangelist,” has garnered significant attention and acclaim. This captivating literary work chronicles Reyes’s personal journey, from overcoming adversity to finding redemption and purpose through his faith. The book serves as a testament to Reyes’s resilience and unwavering determination, inspiring readers to believe in their own potential and navigate their own paths to success.

From Cartel to Evangelist

Sponsored by Christian Faith Publishing

Reyes’s literary endeavors have received a significant boost through the sponsorship of Christian Faith Publishing. This collaboration has allowed Reyes to reach a wider audience with his powerful message of transformation, faith, and the pursuit of entrepreneurship. The partnership between Reyes and Christian Faith Publishing (visit the website here) has opened doors for him to inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals seeking personal growth.

Empowering Others

Recognizing the significance of his own journey, Juan Reyes has made it his mission to give back to society and uplift others. Through speaking engagements and mentoring programs, Reyes shares his knowledge, unique ideas, and experiences with business leaders and young individuals alike. His teachings have become a beacon of hope for those who have faced similar challenges and made similar mistakes, demonstrating that even a fallen business can rise to great heights.

The Pride of Juncos, Puerto Rico

Juan Reyes remains deeply connected to his roots in Juncos, Puerto Rico. His success story has not only become a source of pride for the local community but also an inspiration for the youth in the neighborhood. Reyes’s achievements serve as a testament to the transformative power of entrepreneurship, instilling hope and motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to strive for greatness despite their circumstances.


Juan Reyes’s journey from a humble upbringing in Juncos, Puerto Rico, to becoming a renowned entrepreneur and author is a testament to the triumph of resilience, determination, and faith. Through his businesses, writing, and mentorship, Reyes exemplifies the boundless potential that lies within every individual. He reminds us that with unwavering dedication and a strong belief in oneself, anyone can rise above adversity and create a life of purpose and success. Juan Reyes is an inspiration, not only to entrepreneurs but to all those who dare to dream big and overcome the odds.

Continue Reading

Business News

Disney CEO Bob Iger rips Ron DeSantis over ‘anti-Florida’ retaliation



Bob Iger, CEO, Disney, during CNBC interview, Feb. 9, 2023.

Randy Shropshire | CNBC

Bob Iger on Monday called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ actions against The Walt Disney Co. retaliatory, “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”

The feud between DeSantis and the company escalated earlier Monday, when the governor asked the state’s inspector general to determine whether the House of Mouse’s sly move to retain control over the outer limits of Orange and Osceola counties is legal – and whether any of the company’s executives were involved in the scheme.

During the company’s annual shareholder meeting Monday, Disney CEO Iger addressed investor inquiries about the ongoing dispute between the company and Florida legislators. He noted that Disney has more than 75,000 employees in the state, and has created thousands of indirect jobs, as well as brings around 50 million visitors to Florida every year and is the state’s largest taxpayer

“A year ago, the company took a position on pending Florida legislation,” Iger said, apparently referring to what critics called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “And while the company may have not handled the position that it took very well, a company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do.”

He added: “The governor got very angry about the position Disney took and seems like he’s decided to retaliate against us, including the naming of a new board to oversee the property and the business. In effect, to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me.”

Disney's power play: DeSantis' board stripped of power until 2053

Iger said Disney plans to spend more than $17 billion in investments at Walt Disney World over the next decade, which would create around 13,000 jobs at the company and generate even more taxes for Florida.

“Our point on this is that any action that supports those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida,” he said. “And I’ll just leave it at that.”

Last week, DeSantis’ newly appointed board of the Reedy Creek district, now named the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, revealed that the previous Disney-allied board signed a long-lasting agreement that drastically limits the control that can be exercised over the company and its district.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during ‘The Florida Blueprint’ event on Long Island, New York, United States on April 1, 2023. Ron DeSantis made comments on the Grand Jury’s indictment of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States in Manhattan, New York. 

Kyle Mazza | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The agreement was signed on Feb. 8, the day before the Florida House voted to put DeSantis in charge. DeSantis replaced all of the Disney-allied board members with five Republicans on Feb. 27. It was only then that Disney’s new binding agreement was discovered.

The agreement includes a clause that dates back to 1692 in Britain. The “Declaration shall continue in effect until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England, living as of the date of this declaration,” the document said.

The governor’s letter calls the board’s agreement an attempt to “usurp the authority of the CFTOD board” and “nullify the recently passed legislation, undercut Florida’s legislative process, and defy the will of Floridians.”

He said at the agreement also has “legal infirmities” including inadequate notice, improper delegation of authority and ethical violations.

Disney, however, has said that all of the board’s maneuvers were completely legal — the agreement was discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums, in compliance with Florida’s Sunshine law.

The development in DeSantis’ conflict with Disney marks just the latest move in one of several partisan battles being waged by the Republican governor.

DeSantis is widely believed to be laying the groundwork to launch a 2024 presidential campaign. That move is expected to come not long after the current Florida legislative session ends in early May. Polls show that DeSantis is the most competitive of the potential opponents for former President Donald Trump in a GOP primary.

The Florida governor took aim at Disney after the company publicly balked at Florida’s HB 1557 law early last year. HB 1557, which critics called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, limits early education teachings on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Republican state Rep. Randy Fine told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last April that the bill dissolving Reedy Creek wasn’t retaliatory, but then said “when Disney kicked the hornet’s nest, we looked at special districts.”

Until recently, there had been no major public discussion about dissolving Disney’s long-established special district, which it’s occupied for 55 years, leading DeSantis’ critics to question its timing and the speed at which the governor acted against the company.

The fight between DeSantis and Disney shows no signs of slowing down. During a book tour stop in Georgia last week, DeSantis told attendees “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Continue Reading

Business News

WWE near deal to be sold to UFC parent Endeavor, sources say



World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon appears in the ring during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ethan Miller | Getty Images

Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Entertainment is in advanced talks to be sold to Ari Emanuel’s Endeavor Group, the parent company of UFC, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal could be announced as soon as Monday. UFC and WWE are expected to form a new publicly traded company as part of the agreement, according to the people, who declined to be named due to the confidential nature of the discussions.

related investing news

The return of Bob Iger: Disney CEO makes moves that should please investors

CNBC Investing Club

Endeavor is slated to own 51% of the new combat sports and entertainment company, while WWE shareholders would get 49%, according to the people. The Endeavor deal gives WWE an enterprise value of $9.3 billion, they said.

Emanuel is expected to act as chief executive of both Endeavor and the new company. McMahon, likewise, is expected to be executive chairman, while Endeavor President Mark Shapiro will also work in the same role at the new company. Dana White will remain as president of UFC, while WWE CEO Nick Khan will serve as president of the wrestling business.

The development comes during the same weekend WWE hosts its flagship live event, WrestleMania, in California. The company has spent the past several months looking for a buyer. McMahon returned to the company as chairman in January to oversee the process. Shares of WWE are up more than 33% so far this year, giving it a market value of more than $6.79 billion.

The deal will effectively end WWE’s decades-old status as a family-run business. McMahon’s father founded WWE in its original incarnation during the middle of the 20th century, and McMahon is the controlling shareholder in the company. McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982. Since then, the company has grown into a global phenomenon, spawing stars suck as Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dave Bautista and John Cena.

McMahon, 77, retired from the company in July following a string of revelations that he paid several women millions of dollars over the years to keep them quiet about alleged affairs and misconduct. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, became co-CEO alongside Khan. Paul Levesque, who’s both Stephanie McMahon’s husband and the wrestler known as Triple H, took over creative duties from Vince McMahon.

When Vince McMahon came back in January, Stephanie McMahon stepped down and Khan fully assumed the CEO role. The elder McMahon recently locked in a two-year employment contract, according to a securities filing.

Khan in recent weeks has been making the media rounds to discuss the potential sale. He told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan on Thursday that it’s been a robust sale process, drawing many interested buyers.

WWE CEO Nick Khan says he remains optimistic about plans to introduce betting

WWE brings with it a robust media and live events business, along with its decades worth of intellectual property. The company generated $1.29 billion in revenue last year, driven mainly by its $1 billion media unit.

UFC has paid off for Endeavor. Last year, the MMA league helped Endeavor’s sports business make $1.3 billion in revenue. Endeavor’s market cap stood at about $10.53 billion as of Friday’s close. The Endeavor-WWE deal values UFC at more than $12 billion.

WWE, at least at a glance, would also fit well with the cultures at Endeavor and UFC. McMahon has a brash public persona, making him an apparently good match for Emanuel and White, who are also known for their outsized personalities.

White, like McMahon, is no stranger to scandal, either. Earlier this year, video emerged showing the UFC boss slapping his wife during a public argument at a New Year’s Eve party in Mexico. White apologized.

Disclosure: Peacock, the streaming service owned by CNBC parent NBCUniversal, carries WWE events such as WrestleMania.

Continue Reading