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Regal Cinemas L.A. Live multiplex draws the crowds in a down market

June 16, 2011 |  5:37 pm

The $100-million gamble by billionaire Phil Anschutz to create a destination multiplex in downtown Los Angeles appears to be paying off.

Since it opened in October 2009, the 14-screen Regal Cinemas in the entertainment sports district known as L.A. Live has emerged as one of the busiest theaters in the nation's largest cinema chain, executives said.

"It's definitely a theater that has outperformed our expectations," Regal Entertainment Group Chief Executive Amy Miles said. "It has continued to increase market share."

The theater saw its share of overall box office revenue in Los Angeles increase to 1.74% in May, up from 1.37% in January, according to AEG, the sports and entertainment comglomerate that is controlled by Anschutz and owns Regal Cinemas L.A. Live. Anschutz is also the largest private investor in Regal, which is based in Knoxville, Tenn. 

The downtown multiplex was always envisioned as an L.A. flagship theater for Regal, which has more than 50 theaters locally and 539 nationwide. But it has generated more business than company executives expected, consistently ranking among the 20 busiest theaters in Regal's circuit and often drawing bigger crowds than much larger multiplexes.

At a time when theater attendance has been down nationwide, largely because of a crop of weak movies, Regal executives said the L.A. Live venue has seen a 9% increase in ticket sales so far this year over the same period in 2010.

Additionally, the multiplex -- which is adjacent to the Staples Center -- has held 15 screenings and premieres this year and is hosting the L.A. Film Festival, which begins this week.

Miles said the theater has benefited from all the foot traffic at the L.A. Live complex, which draws crowds to restaurants, concerts and sporting events, notwithstanding the Lakers early exit from the playoffs.

-- Richard Verrier

Photo: A worker cleans the windows on the exterior of the Regal Cinemas Stadium 14 at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles on Oct. 23, 2009. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times


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