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General Cinemas seeks bankruptcy protection

Another theater company has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chestnut Hill, Mass.-based GC Cos. Inc., the parent company of General Cinema recently joined the ranks of United Artists Theater Co., Edwards Cinemas, Carmike Cinemas and Regal, that has suffered from overbuilding and weak movie releases.

Also, Richard Smith resigned as CEO of General Cinema, and senior vice president and CIO of GC Cos. He will continue to serve as chairman of the board for the company. Robert Smith has resigned as president and COO of General Cinema. Gail Edwards was named president and COO in addition to her current position as CFO.

General Cinema has closed 36 under-performing theaters with 264 screens in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, California and Washington. The company will also close an additional 17 theaters with 103 screens by the end of November.

The theater companies embarked upon a massive expansion plan to build stadium-style megaplexes, which have effectively rendered the older theaters obsolete. Moviegoers prefer the creature comfort of the newer theaters.

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