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The Best Seat In Town
|Traded as||NYSE: CNK
S&P 400 Component
Number of locations
|Lee Roy Mitchell
Cinemark XD (Extreme Digital Cinema)
|Revenue||US$4.644 billion (2016)|
|US$423.152 million (2015)|
|US$218.728 million (2015)|
|Total assets||US$4.126 billion (2015)|
|Total equity||US$1.111 billion (2015)|
Cinemark USA, Inc. is an American movie theatre chain owned by Cinemark Holdings, Inc. operating throughout the Americas and in Taiwan. It is headquartered in Plano, Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It is the largest movie theatre chain in Brazil, with a 30% market share.
Cinemark was started by Lee Roy Mitchell as a chain of theatres in California, Texas, and Utah. It is unclear when Cinemark was first founded. While they claim they started in 1984 (and previously claimed they started in 1983), online records show Cinemark might have started as late as 1977. With the opening of the Movies 8 Texarkana in 1987, Cinemark began building theaters with colorful interiors and large video game arcades. The following year, Cinemark introduced its Front Row Joe mascot. This animated cat appeared in policy trailers and on kids' concession products. The mascot was retired in 1998 when Cinemark had begun to open Art Deco-style theatres. However, it was revived in 2002 and is still used today (though in recent years, they have winded down the use of this mascot). In 1992, Cinemark opened a new theater concept called Hollywood USA in Garland, Texas. The following year, Cinemark expanded to Latin America with the opening of a theater in Santiago, Chile. The next year, Cinemark opened four theaters in Mexico. In 1998, Cinemark announced that it would replace its bright color interiors with what Cinemark characterized as a more classic art deco design. Through new theatre construction and acquisitions, it became the third largest theatre chain in the United States and the second largest theatre chain in the world. In March 2009, Cinemark introduced its own large screen concept, known as XD (being short for "Extreme Digital"; which competes against IMAX), and has plans to install it in many well-performing locations around the world. At first, it was known as XD3 (Extreme Digital Experience). All XD screens installed after August 2010 featured (or upgraded to) 7.1 surround sound and those installed after October 2012 feature (or upgraded to) Dolby Atmos. Mitchell's son Kevin Mitchell worked with the company as an executive until leaving in 2007 to found ShowBiz Cinemas.
In the 1990s, Cinemark Theatres was one of the first chains to incorporate stadium-style seating into their theatres. In 1997, several disabled individuals filed a lawsuit against Cinemark, alleging that their stadium style seats forced patrons who used wheelchairs to sit in the front row of the theatre, effectively rendering them unable to see the screen without assuming a horizontal position. The case was heard in El Paso district court as Lara v. Cinemark USA, where a judge ruled that the architecture of Cinemark's theatres violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ruling was later overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Cinemark only had to provide an "unobstructed view" of the screen, and that since handicapped patrons' view was only awkward and not actually obscured, Cinemark was not violating the law.
In response, the United States Department of Justice filed their own suit against Cinemark while appealing the appellate court's decision. The DOJ argued that, while Cinemark was not technically violating the ADA, it was nevertheless discriminating against handicapped patrons by relegating them to the worst seats in the auditorium. Cinemark responded by filing a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, alleging misconduct on the DOJ's behalf. Cinemark's lawsuit was thrown out, and the Department of Justice proceeded with its lawsuit. Cinemark ultimately agreed to settle out of court before the court came to a ruling, agreeing with the DOJ that it was in the company's best interest to end litigation before a ruling was issued. Per the terms of the settlement, Cinemark agreed to renovate all existing theatres to provide wheelchair-bound and other handicapped patrons access to rows higher in its theatres, and also agreed that all future theatres would be constructed so as to allow handicapped patrons better access to higher rows. In turn, the Department of Justice agreed not to bring further litigation against the company in relation to the architecture of stadium seating as it applies to the ADA.
In 2008, CEO Alan Stock donated $9,999 toward the successful passage of California's Proposition 8, an initiative restricting the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples and overturning the California Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. An ensuing campaign, launched by opponents to the Prop 8 passage, encouraged patrons to see the Gus Van Sant film Milk, starring Sean Penn in the title role of gay-rights activist Harvey Milk, at a competing theater in protest. Others called for a more general boycott.
On August 8, 2006, Cinemark purchased Century Theatres with a combination of cash and stock bonds. This acquisition added over 80 theatres and many more screens. Some of these theatres were subsequently shut down either being phased out as under performing or replaced with new complexes. The transaction was completed on October 5, 2006. With this purchase, Cinemark heavily strengthened their presence in Northern California and entered Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, and Washington state, though at the transaction both of their locations in Washington state were still under construction. However, Cinemark retains the Century banner and continues to open new locations under that banner.
In 2009, in order to save the company from a potential bankruptcy, Muvico Theaters sold four theatres to Cinemark. The theatres were Arundel Mills Egyptian 24 in Hanover, MD; Paradise 24 in Pembroke Pines, FL; Palace 20 in Boca Raton, FL; and Boynton Beach 14 in Boynton Beach, FL.; Arundel Mills' Egyptian 24 was often one of the highest-grossing movie theaters in the nation. With this purchase, Cinemark entered the competitive Maryland market and strengthened their presence in Florida.
In November 2012 Cinemark announced it was acquiring Rave Cinemas, the Dallas, Texas–based chain that operates the former Bridge theater with IMAX in Culver City, for $240 million. The deal included 32 theaters located in 12 states, representing 483 screens. Tim Warner, Cinemark's CEO said in a statement "The acquisition of these high quality assets will further enhance Cinemark's diversified domestic footprint, including the expansion of our presence in the New England market". The sale was closed on May 29, 2013, but Cinemark was required to sell the Rave Stonybrook 20 + IMAX theater in Louisville KY, the Rave Ritz Center 16 in southern New Jersey, and either the Rave Hickory Creek 16 in Hickory Creek, Texas or the Cinemark 14 in Denton, Texas. In addition, Cinemark's chairman Lee Roy Mitchell was also required to sell the Movie Tavern Inc. to Southern Theatres. On July 18, 2013, Cinemark found a buyer, Carmike Cinemas, for the Stonybrook 20 & IMAX, Rave Ritz Center 16, and the Rave Hickory Creek 16. With this change, National CineMedia has been replaced with Screenvision at the Stonybrook 20 and Ritz Center 16. Screenvision is already at Hickory Creek, Texas at the time of the announcement of the sale. The sale was closed on August 16, 2013. On September 12, 2013, Southern Theatres announced that they acquired The Movie Tavern from Lee Roy Mitchell after he was required to sell The Movie Tavern after Cinemark bought Rave Cinemas on May 29, 2013. The Movie Tavern will remain a brand of Southern Theatres. As part of Southern Theatres' long-term deal with National CineMedia, The Movie Tavern will switch from Screenvision to National CineMedia in June 2014. Also Cinemark purchased Rave Cinemas Baldwin Hills Crenshaw 15 in June 2014.
On July 20, 2012, a gunman opened fire during the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in a Century theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. The gunman, later identified as James Eagan Holmes, who was believed to be acting alone, entered the theater dressed in protective clothing, set off tactical grenades, then opened fire with multiple firearms on the theatergoers. Counting both fatalities and injuries, the attack was the largest mass shooting in terms of number of casualties in United States history at the time. The theater was reopened on January 17, 2013.
The theater was sued by victims families, who alleged the theater may have taken greater measures to prevent the shooting. After years of legal battling, a jury took three hours to deliver a unanimous verdict that the theater chain was not liable to any degree for the tragedy that transpired, and the judge allowed the theater company to submit a bill of costs to recover expenses imposed on it due to the litigation, as Colorado state law allows for prevailing parties. The theater chain has a pending motion in state court for certain cost reimbursements in the amount of 699,000. A separate group of victims were also dismissed in federal court when U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that "killer James Holmes’ own ‘premeditated and intentional actions were the predominant cause of the plaintiffs’ losses.’" Legal analysts cited in news outlets opined that the theater company will likely refrain from seeking costs from the plaintiffs and argued costs may have been submitted to dissuade appeals from being filed by the plaintiffs’ attorneys, which would further prolong the tragedy.
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