According to a story on fortune.com, AMC Entertainment Holdings won U.S. antitrust approval with conditions to buy smaller competitor Carmike Cinemas Inc. on December 20 in a $1.2 billion deal that would create the biggest U.S. movie theater chain.
The Justice Department said it approved the deal on condition that AMC and Carmike divest theaters in 15 markets in nine states, including Pennsylvania.
According to Shawn Yingling, manager of the Carmike Cinema theater in the Clarion Mall, there are no immediate changes.
“There aren’t any changes planned as of now, and it’s business as usual for us,” Yingling said.
The story is the same for Carmike in DuBois.
“We’re not one of the theaters that has to be sold to best of my knowledge,” manager Mike Kennelly said.
“We’re not closing, we are with AMC now, and it will be business as usual for us.”
According to a news release by AMC, ticket prices will stay the same, and customers can keep earning and using Carmike loyalty reward points and gift cards.
Also, customers can still fill their popcorn bucket at the announced price of $4.25 in 2017, and there will still be $5.00 movies on Tuesdays. Customer can use the Carmike website to look up movies and buy tickets and follow Carmike on social media.
For now, customers should continue to use Carmike gift cards, the Carmike loyalty rewards program and popcorn buckets at Carmike and take advantage of AMC gift cards and promotions at AMC. Right now, many of AMC’s promotions will not apply at Carmike Cinemas and vice versa.
Kansas-based AMC, which is majority-owned by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s Dalian Wanda Group, has about 380 theaters, while Georgia-based Carmike has 276 theaters, according to their websites.
Regal Majestic, the chief competitor, has theaters in some 549 locations, according to company data.
The Justice Department also said it was concerned about the loss of competition between National Cinemedia and Screenvision, which make the advertising programming that theaters run before movie previews.
AMC owns a big chunk of National Cinemedia, while Carmike is a major customer of Screenvision. National Cinemedia and Screenvision abandoned a planned merger last year after the Justice Department in 2014 sued to block it.
The Justice Department required AMC to get rid of most of its ownership interest in National Cinemedia holdings, retaining just 4.99 percent. It also required that 24 theaters with 384 screens be transferred to the Screenvision network to ensure both remain viable.
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