EXCLUSIVE: As the pandemic eases, it’s good to hear that some exhibitors are thriving after close to a year of shutdown from 2020-21. Liberty, MO based, family owned circuit B&B Theatres has upped its screen count to 513 across 56 locations, making it the 6th biggest exhibitor in the domestic U.S./Canadian marketplace, 5th biggest among just U.S.-based chains.
B&B Theatres has added 120-screens in 18 months, putting them ahead of previous No. 6 exhibitor, Harkins Theatres in Scottsdale, AZ, which according to industry estimates counts 478 screens at 32 locations.
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“We have been very conservative with our finances for many years, and have good personal relationships, not only with our vendors and studios, but also with our bankers and landlords,” Bob Bagby, President & CEO, tells Deadline, “When the pandemic hit, we had built up so much good will that everyone worked with us.”
Throughout the pandemic, B&B Theatres says they’ve remained solvent and disciplined, assessing opportunities brought by investors and communities, and working on previously calendared projects when and where possible. After a financially compromised 2020, the company negotiated deals over the last two years that yielded ten new locations and 120 screens. All these remodels and acquisitions place B&B with 80% recliner seating across the circuit with many locations offering unique theatrical concepts including screenPLAY!, MX4D, GRAND SCREENS, Screen-X (a total of ultimately five auditoriums withthe 270-degree screen concept), Lyrics, and heated leather seats.
New additions to the B&B family of theaters during from the last two years include:
–the historic Main Street of Kansas City in the Power & Light District of Kansas City, Missouri
–the ten-screen hometown cinema in Sedalia, Missouri
–the new build of a state-of-the-art 14-screen in Ridgeland, Mississippi
–a turnkey 14-screen acquisition in Morrisville, North Carolina
–further expansion in the St. Louis market through the acquisition of the West Olive 16 in Creve Coeur, Missouri; opening this summer.
–the 11-screen cinema/arcade/bowling/restaurant/bar complex in Blacksburg, Virginia (remodeled with a Grand Screen/Cinionic install)
–B&B’s arrival in the Northwest with the acquisition of an 8-screen in Airway Heights, Washington
–another new-state addition with the recent announcement of a 12-screen acquisition and pending remodel in Athens, Georgia; opening in April.
–a 16-screen progressive concept location in Wesley Chapel, Florida
–B&B’s entrance into Minneapolis’s Mall of America with a 13-screen megaplex
–the design, build-out, and formal relocation of B&B’s corporate office in Liberty, Missouri
Aside from the new acquisitions and builds, B&B Theatres also engaged in comprehensive remodeling efforts at theater locations in Port Arthur, Texas; Miami, and the Oklahoma Grain Valley. B&B owns a third of their locations with the rest in leases.
Bagby adds, “I am so appreciative of all of our vendors, landlords, bankers, member of Congress, studios, our B&B employee family, and our incredible guests who stuck with us through these unprecedented times. I believe in the future of the big screen and am honored to now be the largest family-owned theatre circuit in the country. My family and I will never forget the support that we received these past two years, and we look forward to continuing our growth as the fourth generation of our family business helps lead us into our next century”.
B&B Theatres EVP Brock Bagby, added, “Our core values have really sustained us during this challenging season in our industry and company history. One of those values is innovation. In order for us to move forward with confidence, we’ve looked for creative and diverse expansion options, and we couldn’t be happier with what we’ve done and where we’re headed. The magic of the movies is alive and well, and the future has never looked brighter for our company and our industry.”
In regards to the top ranked exhibitors ahead of B&B in U.S. and Canada, there’s AMC Entertainment (593 theaters, 7,775 screens), Regal Cinemas (505 theaters, 6,782 screens), Cinemark (522 theaters, 5,868 screens), Canadian-based Cineplex (160 theaters, 1,652 screens) and Marcus Theatres (91 theaters, 1,106 screens).
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