With $2.6 billion, the Wanda Group, a Chinese theater operator, has acquired AMC Entertainment--creating the world's largest theater group. So what are the implications of a Chinese company owning North America's second-largest movie theater owner?
The New York Times' Michael Cieply tackles the question from a business perspective: Wanda has now becomes a power player and is one step closer to its goal to own "theaters covering 20 percent of the world theater market by 2020." Cieply writes, "In addition to the $2.6 billion value assigned to AMC’s debt and equity in the deal, Wanda is expected to invest $500 million for what the companies called 'strategic and operating initiatives.'" Fancy jargon aside, The Los Angeles Times' Richard Verrier adds, "For Wanda, the acquisition of AMC gives the Chinese theater operator a pipeline into two of the world’s largest theater markets, giving it more clout in negotiating with major Hollywood studios that are eager to expand into the rapidly growing Chinese market."
But, more pressing is how this is going to affect the movies you and I will be seeing at our AMC-Wanda cineplex, right? In Early May, The Atlantic Wire's Richard Lawson pondered the effect censorship, or non-censorship might have on the theater company and the state. But it seems that the looming c-word isn't part of the conversation ... yet. Cieply does report that some executives are predicting you might be able to catch Chinese flicks soon. Per Cieply: "As word of Wanda’s negotiations with AMC became public in recent weeks, some American executives have privately said that Wanda might eventually use newly acquired American theaters to help pry open an export market for Chinese-made films."