Dinner & the changing world of movie theatres.

Author:Ladd, Scott
Position:CFO Interview

Craig R. Ramsey is executive vice president and chief financial officer for AMC Entertainment Inc. In his 17 years with AMC, he has seen dramatic changes in the industry - and offers his perspectives about its evolution and future.


When Craig R. Ramsey started working with AMC Entertainment Inc. in 1995 (as director of financial reporting), the theatre-going experience was moving through a time of transformation. The era of the megaplex and stadium seating--affording greater comfort and improved sight lines to patrons--was emerging in a growing number of new and bigger multiplex venues.

At that time, the business was mostly movie-focused and movie-centric. As Ramsey, now AMC's executive vice president and chief financial officer and FEI member of the Kansas City Chapter, recalls: "The consumer thinking was, 'I'm going to see a movie and this theater happens to be the closest to me.' We as an industry marketed the film; we didn't market the theatre or the brand, AMC."

The industry focus has evolved. In the intervening years, it has gone through some equally transformative events--a series of recessions and economic slowdowns, the changing nature of the film industry and, perhaps most challenging, the rise of new technologies and a new crop of competitors for the viewing dollar.

North American theatre receipts have dropped in recent years. According to an analysis of 2011 U.S. and global movie-going revenues by the Motion Picture Association of America, the box office for all films released worldwide reached dollar 32.6 billion in 2011, while receipts during the year for U.S. and Canadian theatres was dollar 10.2 billion, down four percent from 2010.

By Scott Ladd

Still, Ramsey notes, there are approximately 39,000 movie screens in use in U.S. and Canada currently. Going back 20 years, it was close to 26,000. The existing and potential market for the theatrical window is strong, though contending with myriad forms of new media, technological advances and social media outlets means the effort to keep movie-going relevant and attractive requires new strategies.

Growth of a Company

AMC was launched in 1920 in Kansas City, Mo. It was the first to promote multiplex cinemas after Stanley Durwood, son of one of the original owners, saw one screen in one building as limiting and believed viewers wanted more choices.

So he began remodeling several large single-screen Kansas City theatres into smaller buildings with multiple...

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