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The BigScreen Cinema Guide: News & Events

Milwaukee Movie News Bites - June 19, 1996

by Ron Higgins


There has been a lot of talk about new movie theaters being built and others adding more screens to existing locations in recent months. This short article is meant to breifly touch on what has been happening.

A small group of friends who have wanted to run a chain of movie theaters since their high school and college days formed a company called Cinescape, and bought all but one of the local United Artists theaters from UA. Cinescape has big plans for these former UA houses.

They are planning on adding three screens to the Brown Port Theaters, plus a couple to the theaters in Racine. They are also planning on updating the operations, and installing digital sound systems in some theaters.

Cinescape also has plans for adding theaters, saying that they would like to manage about 300 screens. For comparison, Marcus Theatres, the largest theater chain in the state, only manages 96 screens locally.

On the Marcus front, Marcus purchased the Value Cinemas Oak Creek and Brookfield locations. Also in the deal was the sale of the Value Cinemas name. Marcus plans on keeping the Value Cinema locations as budget houses, and plans to open more locations using the Value Cinemas name.

Rumor has it that another big company (who shall rename nameless for now, since it is an unconfirmed rumor) wanted to break into the Milwaukee movie marketplace by buying the Value Cinemas locations, and once set up in the market, expand into direct competition with Marcus. Marcus, somewhat worried about the potential competition, decided to buy up Value Cinemas before the other company could.

In other Marcus news, it sounds like they are finally going to be adding on to the North Shore theaters. Years of negotiation and lawsuits have been settled, and all that is needed is one last vote and they get the go-ahead to add three screens to North Shore, giving them a total of eleven.

Marcus also has plans to expand the Hillside Theaters in Delafield, and have proposed a 20 screen complex near Hwy. 100 and Greenfield in West Allis on the site of the former Borden Processing Plant. They have also announced that they will not be renewing the lease on the old Westlane theaters, which are now Southtown 5 and 6 at the end of the year.

Marcus has recently announced a plan for a 13 screen theater and Applebee's resturant in Menomonee Falls, but the plan is being fiercely fought by local residents.

Adding fuel to the fire, a local man has just announced that a group of investors from the Chicago area want to build a 14 screen complex in Germantown. It doesn't sound like the residents there are too upset, so I'm betting that we'll see new theaters in Germantown before we see them in Menomonee Falls.

And to wrap up this news-bites column, AMC, a Kansas City based theater chain with locations around the country, has announced a plan to build a 24 screen complex onto the back of Mayfair Mall. This would be the largest theater complex in the State of Wisconsin.

More details as they become available...

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