Gardenwalk Cinemas LLC, the operators of Anaheim’s Cinema Fusion theatre, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. A venture of Sanborn Theatres/The Movie Experience, the filing came after the theatre amassed some $3.6 million in debt, having failed to pay rent, insurance, and miscellaneous construction costs, since opening in the summer of 2008. Those close to the matter have stated that the bankruptcy was a defensive move, to avoid litigation from creditors and lien holders.
While not including the Sanborn Theatres/Movie Experience chain, the move definitely signals troubled times for one of southern California’s oldest exhibitors. Cinema Fusion had been heralded as the company’s future, moving away from traditional cinema and more in to this hybrid concept. With the theatre having flopped in such a dramatic fashion, not to mention the sub par position the chain currently maintains with it’s four pre existing locations, one must question the future of Sanborn/The Movie Experience.
The Gardenwalk theatre and overall center also find themselves in a precarious position through this filing. While the center’s management have announced that the theatre will continue to operate, without interruption, and there is a search for new operators underway, the speed at which the cinema failed is a troubling sign. Equally troubling is the fact that the Gardenwalk complex recently defaulted on a $188 million debt and faces possible foreclosure proceedings. After being open for roughly a year and a half, the center’s current lack of patrons and tenants, coupled with the bankruptcy of it’s most prominent draw, don’t exactly equate to a bright future ahead for Anaheim’s Gardenwalk.
An interesting, though hardly surprising, development, when one reflects on the area’s history with cinemas (as we discussed in “The Not So magic Kingdom” this past summer).
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