Leawood’s AMC acquiring all Cinetopia movie theaters, including Overland Park location

Soaring four stories tall, the GXL theater features a 75-foot-tall screen and seats 450 moviegoers at the Cinetopia in the Prairiefire Shopping Center in Overland Park
Soaring four stories tall, the GXL theater features a 75-foot-tall screen and seats 450 moviegoers at the Cinetopia in the Prairiefire Shopping Center in Overland Park File photo

Leawood-based AMC Theatres has acquired rival theater company Cinetopia and its four locations, including one in Overland Park’s Prairiefire.

The purchase price was not disclosed.

AMC is one of the largest theater operators in the world with 1,006 theaters and 11,091 screens. Its headquarters is less than three miles from the local Cinetopia.

“Cinetopia built a great state-of-the-art theater and we are thrilled to have AMC join our list of tenants at Prairiefire,” said Fred Merrill Jr., developer of Prairiefire. “AMC just has a great national and international platform for marketing and merchandising.”

In a statement, John McDonald, executive vice president, U.S. operations for AMC, said: “We’re thrilled to bring the unparalleled experience of AMC Dine-In to moviegoers at Prairiefire. If movie-lovers in the greater Kansas City area haven’t been out to the theater in a while, or they want to try it for the first time, they’ll love AMC’s take on dinner-and-a movie at a fabulous retail destination.”

The Prairiefire theater will be closed until Friday evening. Then it will reopen as AMC Dine-In Prairiefire 18. It will have a smaller menu to start as it transitions to the AMC Dine-In menu, which includes crispy bacon Brussels sprouts, pretzel bites, dry rub wings, flatbreads, fish and chips, tacos, bowls, salads and wraps, burgers and sandwiches, as well as a children’s menu.

Cinetopia’s Vinotopia Restaurant and Bar will become MacGuffins Bar, with a full bar and food menu.

Vinetopia featured a private wine tasting room. The restaurant will become AMC’s MacGuffins. TAMMY LJUNGBLAD The Kansas City Star

AMC said ticket and concession prices will be “adjusted to fit within AMC standards while considering theater amenities and the competitive landscape. In many cases, prices will be lower.”

All Cinetopia employees were offered positions with AMC, said an AMC spokeswoman. The number of employees was not available.

Cinetopia, a luxury movie chain based in Beaverton, Oregon, was founded in 2005.

The Overland Park theater, at 5724 W. 136th Terrace, opened in 2013 as an original tenant of Prairiefire. It had 18 screens, including three GXL theaters.

In 2018, Cinetopia sued AMC on antitrust claims. It accused AMC of leveraging exclusive showings of first-run blockbuster films to the detriment of competing theater chains.

An AMC spokeswoman said that as part of the acquisition, “each party released the other from all claims, including the lawsuit.”

A year ago, Cinetopia was temporarily closed by the Kansas Department of Agriculture for health code violations. The 10 priority violations included food held at improper temperatures, no hot water at the handwashing sinks and moldy blueberries.

It had no violations during a follow-up inspection the next day and was allowed to reopen.

Along with the Overland Park location, Cinetopia had two theaters in Vancouver, Washington, and one in Beaverton.

The Overland Park location had faced stiff competition from the AMC Town Center 20 in Leawood to the north and B&B Overland Park 16 and AMC Dine-In Studio 28 in Olathe to the west.

Kansas City has seen a major shake-up in its movie theater offerings in recent weeks.

Westport’s longime movie theater, Tivoli Cinemas, closed in April. Owner and founder Jerry Harrington said at the time: “It kills me to do this. But business has been so bad, I can’t keep losing money like this.”

Then the Country Club Plaza’s Cinemark Palace at the Plaza, which opened in 1999, abruptly closed Sunday. The Plaza and Cinemark declined to comment. The Plaza previously said it had an upscale theater on its wish list.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.