Fitchburg theater closes down

New Jersey-based New Vision Theater IMAX is closing its 18 nationwide locations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — including Fitchburg’s.

One casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic won’t stay empty when social outings become normal again.

The 18-screen theater at 6091 McKee Road has been reacquired by AMC Theatres, according to an Aug. 28 federal court filing. It had closed over the summer when its owner, New Vision Theatres, filed for liquidation proceedings in July in a Georgia state court according to the filing.

When or if AMC will reopen the McKee Roadtheater is not yet clear, and a request for information made to the company’s public relations department was not returned as of Wednesday, Sept. 16.

AMC was the former owner of the multiplex at McKee Road, before New Vision.

The 18-unit New Vision theater circuit had locations in nine states when it closed down all its locations in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court filing states when AMC sold the 6091 McKee Road theater in December 2016 to New Vision, it remained financially obligated for the theater until March 2027 if New Vision Theatres defaulted on financial responsibilities such as leases.

As such, AMC made a request to reacquire 10 of its former theaters it had sold in 2016, to better help it cover New Vision's lapsed obligations.

According to an April 2017 story by The Capital Times, AMC was forced by antitrust officials in the U.S. Department of Justice to sell off a cinema in the Madison market after it acquired the Carmike Cinema chain, which at the time owned the Sundance Cinema at 430 N. Midvale Blvd. in Madison. AMC opted to sell the Fitchburg theater while rebranding the Madison theater as AMC Madison 6.

As part of the divestment, Beekman Investment Partners acquired theaters from both AMC Entertainment and Carmike Cinemas, forming New Vision, according to an April 2017 Business Wire news story.

Despite monopoly concerns by antitrust officials, U.S. District Judge Randolph D. Moss approved AMC’s request to reacquire the Fitchburg theater, as it was still on the hook for New Vision’s default, according to an Aug. 28 story in Variety.

AMC operates approximately 1,000 theaters and 11,000 screens worldwide including 255 U.S. locations, making it the largest movie exhibition company in the United States, Europe and the world, according to the company’s website.

Neal Patten, community reporter, can be contacted at neal.patten@wcinet.com.