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AMC moves back to Hollywood

Start popping the popcorn: AMC Entertainment, the nation's second-largest theater operator, is moving back to Hollywood.

The Kansas City, Mo., chain, which operates 307 theaters, said Thursday it will open a new film office in Century City to strengthen its ties to the studios and develop alternative entertainment, such as live broadcasts of sporting events. The company had closed its film office in 2005 in a company-wide consolidation.

"We are pleased to reestablish a physical presence for AMC's film team in L.A.," said AMC Chief Executive Gerry Lopez. "The addition of new talent and the relocation of key AMC film associates will re-energize our strong industry relationships, which are integral to our programming expansion strategy."

Robert J. Lenihan, president of programming, will oversee the new office with a staff of five in Los Angeles. The new office will be close to one of its flagship theaters, AMC Century City 15.

In February, AMC tapped Lopez, a former Starbucks Corp. executive, to become chief executive. He replaced Peter Brown, who retired after the privately held company sustained heavy losses  and dropped plans for an initial public stock offering. AMC and other theater chains have been enjoying a strong year at the box office but face long-term challenges to boost attendance and draw younger audiences.

-Richard Verrier
 
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