After expanding to the grocery industry by purchasing Whole Foods, it appears Amazon is looking to get into the movie theater business. Bloomberg News reports Amazon wants to acquire Landmark Theatres, one of the largest movie theater companies in the United States and the largest domestic movie chain focused on independent films.
Founded in 1974, Landmark has a total of 252 screens in 52 theaters in 27 markets. The company is currently owned by Wagner/Cuban Companies, a company run by entrepreneurial billionaires Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban.
Landmark Theaters has been compared to Whole Foods. Both specialize “in the kind of art house fare that crosses over to mainstream audiences”, according to Steven Zeitchik, a reporter from the Washington Post. Also like Whole Foods, it’s likely Amazon could use the movie business to tie in even more users to Amazon Prime subscriptions. In turn, Amazon would be able to drive current customers to theaters.
Amazon could use the chain to screen its own movies. However, that theory seems unlikely based on Amazon Studios’ move to larger theaters and more modern content. It’s not out of the question Amazon might use the theaters as spaces for Esports and other forms of online gaming.
The speculation is being felt on Wall Street. After market open on Thursday, AMC Entertainment and Cinemark, two of the largest movie theater companies in the United States, saw a decrease in stock price. However, by the end of the day, they traded up more than 1 percent.
Landmark’s current owners are reportedly working with Stephens investment bank to discuss options. At this point, no final decisions have been made. When asked about the deal, Amazon declined to comment.