AMC officially takes over at Dover Mall cinemas

DOVER — The marquee sign in front of the 14 movie theaters that reside just off the food court at the Dover Mall still reads “Carmike Cinemas.”

However, visitors to the venue quickly realize upon stepping inside that they are now a part of AMC Entertainment, the only AMC-owned cinemas in Delaware. Its website now calls the complex “AMC Dover 14.”

The red-dotted AMC Theatres logo is on the concession stand signage and the Carmike webpage has a banner that reads “Welcome to the AMC Family.”

It goes on to say, “We’re thrilled to announce that Carmike Cinemas (which includes Wynnsong, Muvico, Ovation, and Sundance Cinemas) is now part of the AMC Theatres family, and we’re so excited to start this new chapter together.”

A manager and a regional manager at the Dover Mall theater complex declined comment on the changes Friday, referring questions to the company’s headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri.

However, changes are evident, including a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine in the lobby in which guests can enjoy unlimited refills of more than 100 different varieties of drinks.

The Dover Mall’s 14 theaters were closed temporarily last week as upgrades were made to the venue, though no specifics were revealed.

AMC’s $1.2 billion acquisition of Carmike Cinemas in late December officially made AMC the nation’s largest movie theater chain, unseating Regal Entertainment Group for the No. 1 spot.

AMC now operates some 900 theaters with more than 10,000 screens globally, including 661 theaters with more than 8,200 screens in the United States and 244 theaters with 2,200 screens in Europe.

“AMC now has a larger audience and a bigger stage to introduce our industry-leading innovations including plush power-recliner seats, enhanced food and beverage choices and premium large format screens,” said AMC CEO and President Adam Aron, when the acquisition of Carmike was completed.

“We also have expanded AMC’s footprint across greater geography and more diverse demographics, serving most of the largest cities in the U.S. and Europe, along with hundreds of home towns, where guests can have an amazing AMC experience.”

With the move, AMC officials decided to rebrand their theaters into three distinct groups: AMC Amazing (higher end, bigger theaters), AMC Classic (family value-oriented, probably what the Dover Mall’s location will be) and AMC Dine-In (which offers a full menu).

All of AMC’s new theaters will be officially branded by April.

AMC Classic theaters, such as what the one in the Dover Mall will more than likely be, include the Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, menu items like pretzel bites and movie nachos and refillable annual popcorn buckets.

AMC’s website says, “You will experience no significant changes (either increases or decreases) in ticket prices as AMC re-brands these theatres.

“As is normal for our industry, AMC periodically evaluates pricing and may make pricing changes based on market conditions, increasing operating costs or when premium formats are introduced.”

Mr. Aron said the major theater acquisition will be a win-win for both the business and patrons.

“In the United States, AMC now will enjoy increased benefit from movies that play better on Main Street and movies that play better in major metros, and, of course, from movies that play well in both,” he said. “We are fortunate to be adding so many talented and hard-working associates to the AMC team, which speaks well for the leadership of Carmike over the past several years.

“Now we roll up our sleeves and get to work to ensure that we are not only the biggest exhibitor, but also the best in each of our markets.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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