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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More on CG overload ... It's official: Cinemark buys Century

- Ben Fritz of Variety asks, `Is the toon biz over-drawn?' The evidence:

    In 2004, the average box office for an animated pic was $149 million. This year, it's $88 million. But then, there are 50% more toons in release this year than in '04. Three toons have bowed in the past three weeks: Sony's "Monster House," Warner Bros.' "Ant Bully" and Paramount's "Barnyard."

    The bullish spirit of several years ago, when all these projects began production, has given way to introspection: How much is too much?

- Texas-based Cinemark is buying Century Theatres, headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. "The combined enterprise," according to The Hollywood Reporter, "will join about 391 theaters with 4,395 screens in 37 states and 13 countries. In terms of screen count, Cinemark is the third-ranked circuit in the country, behind Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment."

The San Francisco Chronicle points out that, oddly, no dollar value was put on the acquisition.

Kate Kelly of the Wall Street Journal writes:

    After a spate of overbuilding that resulted in hundreds of multiplex theaters in the 1990s, many chain operators were forced to seek bankruptcy protection when they couldn't fill seats. Now, with relatively fixed costs and a revenue stream that is increasingly dependent on the availability of hit movies, some exhibitors are focusing on geographic growth as a way to increase profits. A few -- including AMC and Cinemark, according to analysts and industry officials -- also are considering going public.