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|Industry||Entertainment (movie theatres)|
|Fate||Merged into AMC Theatres|
(Canadian operations merged into Cineplex Entertainment)
|Founded||June 23, 1904|
|Defunct||January 26, 2006|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Marcus Loew, founder|
Loews Theatres, also known as Loews Incorporated (originally Loew's), founded on June 23, 1904 by Marcus Loew, was the oldest theater chain operating in North America until it merged with AMC Theatres on January 26, 2006. From 1924 until 1959, it was also the parent company of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM). The Loews name was used until 2017, when AMC simplified their branding to focus on three main lines: AMC, AMC Classic and AMC Dine-In after their purchase of Carmike Cinemas.
The company was originally called "Loew's", after the founder, Marcus Loew. In 1969, when the Tisch brothers acquired the company, it became known as "Loews".
Loew's Theatres Incorporated was founded in 1904 in Cincinnati, Ohio, by entrepreneur Marcus Loew. Loew founded a chain of nickelodeon theaters which showed short silent films in storefront locations. Soon the successful enterprise grew to include deluxe vaudeville houses and finally lavish movie palaces. Loew's theaters were found in cities from coast-to-coast, but primarily in East Coast and Midwest states.
To provide quality films for his theaters, Loew founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM) in 1924, by merging the earlier firms Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer Productions. Loew's Incorporated served as distribution arm and parent company for the studio until the two were forced to separate by the 1948 U.S. Supreme Court ruling United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. The two companies officially split in 1959.
In 1985, when federal regulations had been relaxed, Tri-Star Pictures, then a joint venture co-owned by The Coca-Cola Company (also owners of Columbia Pictures at the time) CBS, and Time Inc.'s HBO, acquired the Loews theater chain from Loews Corporation, the successor company to the original firm founded by Marcus Loew. Loews Corporation by this time was a holding company owned by brothers Robert and Laurence Tisch highly diversified in non-entertainment business interests ranging from hotels to insurance. CBS left Tri-Star in 1985, and HBO left the venture and Tri-Star merged with Columbia Pictures in 1987, resulting in the formation of Columbia Pictures Entertainment.
Upon the full acquisition of Tri-Star by Columbia Pictures, and when Columbia was bought from Coca-Cola by Sony in 1989, Sony inherited the theaters as well. For a while, Loews operated under the Sony Theaters banner.
In 1994, Sony partnered with Magic Johnson to form Magic Johnson Theaters, a mini-chain of theaters specifically geared toward the inner cities, particularly in Los Angeles. A year before, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound was installed in several theaters since the parent company used it to promote Sony's cinema sound division, which shut down in 2002.
In 1998, Cineplex Odeon Corporation merged with Loews Theaters to form Loews Cineplex Entertainment. The combined company was one of the largest movie exhibitors in the world, with theaters in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South Korea, and Spain. The company was forced to sell of it's newly acquired subsidiary, Cineplex Odeon Films, to Alliance Atlantis. In 2001, though, the company declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In 2002, Onex Corporation and Oaktree Capital Management acquired Loews Cineplex. In 2004, they sold Loews to a private group of investors which included the Carlyle Group. Onex retained the Canadian Loews Cineplex and merged it with Galaxy Cinemas to form Cineplex Galaxy Income Fund.
In 2005, AMC Theatres announced that it would merge with Loews Cineplex Entertainment and that the merged company would adopt the AMC name. At the time of the merger, Loews operated 198 theaters with 2,235 screens. Many theaters were rebranded as AMC Loews until the Loews name was phased out in 2017.