PORTLAND, Ore. — Local movie theater chain Cinetopia is no more. The company was acquired by AMC, the world’s largest movie theater chain, in a deal that was announced Thursday.
The purchase comes after Cinetopia's four theaters, two in Vancouver, one in Beaverton and another in Kansas, abruptly closed. Many kitchen and service employees reportedly lost their jobs and moviegoers were left in the dark about how long the theaters would be closed.
The Columbian reports Cinetopia and AMC were involved in litigation over the past year and that the two companies told a federal judge they expected a resolution to the dispute by Friday.
The deal marks an end for Cinetopia, which opened in Vancouver in 2005. The company was a market innovator, offering luxury seats and food choices more often found at restaurants than movie theaters.
While AMC operates more than 1,000 theaters worldwide, the company had lacked a presence in the Portland metro area. Before Thursday's acquisition, AMC only operated theaters in 12 cities in Washington, most of which were in the Seattle area, and none were in Clark County. The chain only had one location in Oregon, which was in Corvallis.
"We’re thrilled to bring the unparalleled AMC experience to moviegoers in Vancouver, Beaverton, and the greater Portland area. Through this acquisition, movie-lovers can experience all three AMC brands – AMC, AMC DINE-IN and AMC CLASSIC, in the same market. While each theatre offers something a little different, what they all have in common is AMC’s commitment to providing the very best moviegoing experience," said John McDonald, executive vice president of U.S. operations.
According to a press release from AMC, the acquired theaters will stay closed for a little bit longer as the company transitions to new systems.
The Vancouver Mall location opened May 24. The Vancouver Mill Plain location will open May 30 and the Beaverton theater will open May 31, an AMC spokesperson said.
While the three local theaters will reopen soon, only the location in Beaverton will offer food service similar to what Cinetopia moviegoers experienced.
So, why won’t the Vancouver locations be dine-in theaters?
"During our review of the operating parameters in these theatres, it was determined that the expansive menu items available in our AMC and AMC CLASSIC brands were the best fit to deliver the amazing experience our guests can expect in our theatres," AMC said in a FAQ posted on its website.
Another question many people had about the abrupt closure is what would happen to their Cinetopia loyalty and gift cards? AMC said those people will get the rewards they're entitled to.
People with a Cinetopia loyalty card will be able to bring it to one of the previous Cinetopia locations by Aug. 22, and AMC said it will honor any outstanding rewards on the account. Cinetopia discount tickets will be redeemable at the specified location and gift cards can be transferred to an AMC gift card.