Friday, August 26, 2022

[EXCLUSIVE] "LOOK" What's Happening at TOWN Brookhaven

A familiar space will host the debut of a new movie theater chain in metro Atlanta.  LOOK Dine-In Cinemas, which launched in 2021 and is based in Dallas, Texas, will in October open in the former CMX CineBistro in TOWN Brookhaven.  
The Brookhaven theater opened on September 23, 2011, when the chain, then part of Birmingham, Alabama-based Cobb Theatres, was known simply as CinĂ©Bistro.  Cobb Theatres was acquired by Mexican cinema chain Cinemex in late 2017.  The seven screen Brookhaven theater closed in February 2020 due to a "small fire," but remained closed months later, and was eventually removed from the corporate CMX website.  

Described as a "technology driven, dine-in movie exhibition company," LOOK is the brainchild of industry veteran Brian Schultz, who previously started Studio Movie Grill.  According to his LinkedIn page, Schultz departed Studio Movie Grill in March 2021, about five months removed from the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the wake of the devastating toll the COVID-19 pandemic took on the movie theater industry.  

LOOK was launched in April 2021 and subsequently opened in Dallas in June and three venues in California in July, each a former Studio Movie Grill where existing leases were "taken over."  Following the July 2021 openings in Monrovia, Downey and Glendale, additional locations opened in Arizona, Florida, New York and Texas, with others planned for new markets such as Reston, Virginia, where LOOK is taking over a former Bow-Tie Cinemas location.  

AMC Dine-In 6, which was located at Tower Place in Buckhead, permanently closed during the pandemic and could also prove an appealing takeover target for LOOK.  Additionally, Studio Movie Grill "moved" its Alpharetta location from Holcomb Bridge Road to North Point Parkway in 2021, leaving its former venue vacant and available.  

The blessing of the pandemic for LOOK seems to be that it has created opportunities to acquire "second generation theaters" that are far less costly and quicker to open than building out a completely new venue. According to online research, in addition to several former Studio Movie Grill locations and the one Bow-Tie Cinemas, new or upcoming LOOK locations also occupy several former Movie Tavern locations as well as least one former IPIC in Dobbs Ferry, New York.  

All of this expansion - more than 100 screens across thirteen locations in seven states - is not without risk.  The movie theater industry has seen some improvement from its COVID-induced struggles, but audiences have not returned to the frequency with which they attended films pre-pandemic.  Additionally, several theater operators remain on shaky financial ground with news coming this week that Cinewold Group, the British company that owns Regal Cinemas, was considering a "voluntary Chapter 11 filing in the United States."   

2022 has brought one clear success, Top Gun Maverick (Paramount & Skydance), the sequel to the 1986 film Top Gun, rang up nearly $1.4 billion at the global box office but conversely, Lightyear (Disney & Pixar) generated just $226 million at the global box office and against lofty expectations, was considered "a box-office bomb." 

According to a Google listing, LOOK is "looking" to open in Brookhaven October 13.  If all goes well, a mid-October opening would allow for the theater operator to take advantage of the upcoming slate of films slated for fourth quarter releases including: Halloween Ends (October 14), Black Adam (October 21), Black Panther Wakanda Forever (November 11), The Menu (November 18) and Avatar: The Way of Water (December 16), among others.  

In case you are keeping track, despite the many, many closures at TOWN Brookhaven, the center will soon be home businesses called "There," "Crumbl" and "Look." 

Are you excited for the return of dine-in movies to TOWN Brookhaven?  When was the last time you visited a theater and what did you see?  What upcoming 2022 movie are you most looking forward to? 

Please share your thoughts below.  


Tres said...

First off, it's crazy to me to think that a movie making $226 million is considered a "bomb". Also, I wish we could get Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in town. I've heard wonderful things about it.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't know how any movie theater can remain open at this point. Tbe movie studios are making hardly any new movies they do make go straight to streaming services like Netflix or they suck like Jurassic Park, just awful remakes. It looks like the movie studios have given up in the face of the pandemic. It's crazy because not everyone wants to just watch movies at home on a streaming service.

Anonymous said...

Glad that a dine-in theater is returning. I only tried to go to Cinebistro once when it was open but all the movies we were interested in were sold out. I did use to enjoy Studio Movie Grill. I thought they had surprisingly good food and service considering that it was a movie theater. The concept has come a long way since the old Cinema n Drafthouse days for sure.

just saw Top Gun Maverick a couple weeks ago at Phipps. Theater was fairly full given it was an earlier showing (about 6pm). It was an excellent experience and an entertaining movie. Those chairs are pretty great.

Alex said...

Buckhead Backlot was so much fun. Honestly, the food was secondary to the beer and the movie. But that was when Hollywood was churning out entertaining movies. One Top Gun type movie a year isn't nearly enough to keep one of these places operating in the black. Might as well put a Plant Based Pizza place there with less cost and the same dismal result.

Anonymous said...

@Alex and @Anon - How about a bad Jurrasic remake where all the dinosaurs are plant-eaters just craving some good pizza?

Anonymous said...

Ate at Crumbl in Town Brookhavenlast week, and it may be the best cookie franchise out there (Sorry Ali's!). Super simple concept and the self-service ordering is perfect. The Pumpkin Chocolate Chip is delicious as is the Frosted Sugar Cookie.

Anonymous said...

Yes! The Cinebistro was always busy and I was sad to see it go. I can’t wait for LOOK to open and support a local movie theater!

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