In a plot twist for South Beach moviegoers, Regal, the country’s second largest cinema chain, has decided to keep open its theater on Lincoln Road, after deciding to close it earlier this year.
The cinema giant renewed a lease in August for its Regal South Beach location at 1120 Lincoln Road Mall with Los Angeles-based landlord BH Properties, according to the real estate investment firm’s president Jim Brooks. Regal anchors the four-story, 253,168-square-foot building on the prime corner of the Miami Beach outdoor mall. The deal is a change of course after the cinema company announced in January it would close the location along with 38 others across the country.
Regal’s announcement about closing some locations came after its parent company, Cineworld, filed for Chapter 11 in 2022. Movie theaters struggled to compete for years with the growing popularity of streaming companies like Netflix. Many cinemas struggled during the pandemic with the added challenge of social distancing and lack of blockbusters. For Regal, Brooks said he believes they saw value in staying in South Beach.
“There is demand for the cinema experience. Regal had an interest in remaining,” Brooks said. Although he confirmed the renewed lease with Regal, Brooks declined to comment on the expiration of the new contract and other lease terms.
Regal did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
For Lincoln Road, the movie theater means “more footfall,” said Lyle Stern, president of the Lincoln Road Business Improvement District and co-founder of the retail leasing company Vertical Real Estate. After Regal announced the closure, he said the community raised concerns about not having a large cinema. “It gives people another reason to go to the Road. You’ve got the movie theater, office, restaurants. It makes Lincoln Road so special,” he said.
Cinemas are making a comeback since 2020 when ticket sales fell to an all-time low since the 1980s of about 222 million in the U.S. and Canada, according to data and research company Statista. They climbed to 492 million in 2021 and to about 813 million in 2022.
So far, this year drew 825 million moviegoers. Blockbuster hits have brought more people into movie theaters, including “Top Gun: Maverick” last year as well as this summer’s “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” The Greta Gerwig-directed film “Barbie” has broken numerous records, including becoming Warner Bros.’ highest grossing film.