2 Sundance Film Festival Theaters in Utah Are at Risk of Closure After Their Owner Declared Bankruptcy

By Jace Dela Cruz

Mar 14, 2024 02:35 AM EDT

The future of two prominent venues of the Sundance Film Festival in Utah hangs in the balance as their owner, Metropolitan Theaters Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  

PARK CITY, UTAH - JANUARY 25: A guest peels off a prize ticket at HBO's McMillions Experience during Sundance 2020 on January 25, 2020 in Park City, Utah.
(Photo : Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for HBO)

Owner of Sundance Film Festival Theaters File for Bankruptcy

According to IndieWire, the Redstone 8 and the Holiday Village Cinemas 4, both located in Park City, Utah, face uncertainty following the bankruptcy declaration on February 29.

Metropolitan Theaters Corporation revealed debts amounting to nearly $8 million in loans, with additional liabilities exceeding $300,000 owed to landlords across its 15 theaters. With Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company seeks to reorganize its assets rather than opting for liquidation.

While planning for the Sundance Film Festival 2025 continues, the potential closure of one or both theaters could significantly impact the festival's operations. Although not primary premiere locations, the Redstone and Holiday Village theaters are vital in supporting festival screenings. 

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15 Metropolitan Theaters Affected

Metropolitan's bankruptcy reportedly affects 15 theaters, including those in Santa Barbara, California, but some theaters could be unaffected since the company owns their properties.

The future of other theaters depends on lease renegotiations to become solvent. While some Metropolitan theaters may remain operational, financial challenges are evident in debts owed to various landlords and significant lease expenses across multiple states. 

This bankruptcy filing reflects the broader economic strain experienced by exhibitors post-pandemic, with notable closures such as Arclight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters in 2021. Metropolitan's bankruptcy filing highlights the harsh realities confronting exhibitors in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The next hearing on the Metropolitan bankruptcy case is set for April 16 in downtown Los Angeles. An industry source told IndieWire that closure is determined case-by-case in most Chapter 11 cases involving theaters and that some Metropolitan theaters are expected to remain open. 

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