When Paul Glantz closed the theaters in the Emagine Entertainment chain at the height of the pandemic there was no telling what would happen to the company or the entertainment industry in general after that.
But instead of worrying about what he could not control Glantz carried on.
“Warren Buffett once said that ‘you should be growing when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy,’” said the co-founder and chairman of Emagine Entertainment, whose midwest theater chain not only reopened but since that dreadful day has grown .
It is now ranked among the top 10 largest theater chains in North America, according to the 2022 Giants of Exhibition report from The Boxoffice Pro, which is a premiere publication in the theater industry. Emagine’s growth includes the acquisition of seven locations in 2021, adding 87 new screens in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana, bringing its total to 28 locations and 342 screens. Emagine’s additions in Michigan include one in Birmingham, Kochville Township and Woodhaven. The largest theater chain is AMC Entertainment, followed by Regal and Cinemark.
AMC operates theaters in Sterling Heights and Clinton Township as well as Madison Heights and Auburn Hills in neighboring Oakland County.
“Becoming the 9th largest theater chain in the country is a remarkable achievement for us,” Glantz said. “Our leadership team has put us in a great position for growth despite the pandemic and challenges other operators in our industry have faced.”
This enabled Glantz to acquire four former Goodrich theatres.
“All four of these theaters were good performers for the former operator,” Glantz said, adding he expects them to be even better once the $22 million state-of-the-art renovations are completed in 2022.
And they’re not done growing.
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“We are continuing to evaluate other opportunities that provide growth value to our brand, that will allow us to bring the Emagine experience to other communities,” said Anthony LaVerde, CEO of Emagine Entertainment.
A lot has changed in the industry. Movie fans have been enjoying the fact that studios are sending films to direct screening, so they never have to leave their house but they are also releasing them to the theaters.
“I think the studios know that we help to promote their films and add to the value through the life of the film,” Glantz said, adding that he also believes there will always be folks who enjoy going out and seeing a film in theaters.
As for the future Glantz said they will lessons their reliance on feature films.
“They will always be the lion’s share but we’re going to start showing more alternative content like sporting events,” he said, noting that they’re also looking at the concept of bringing your own content to the theater, which means someone who subscribes to DisneyPlus or HBO can actually host their own screening party for 10 or 20 of their friends.
“It’s pretty cool,” Glantz said, especially considering he and his original partner began this adventure with one screen and a couple hundred seats.