Spyglass Entertainment, the two-year-old production and distribution operation that hit the jackpot last year with The Sixth Sense, is believed to be negotiating its first move into the exhibition business.
In league with former exhibition and Fox Searchlight executive Jim Naify, Spyglass principals Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber are in talks to acquire a handful of theatres in and around Los Angeles for a reported $15m. The cinemas are part of the 357-screen Mann Theaters circuit, which was acquired out of bankruptcy early this year by Paramount and Warner.
Buoyed by its Sixth Sense revenues, Spyglass has publicly stated an interest in expanding into both the exhibition and on-line businesses. The US exhibition business is currently going through some tricky times - with chains struggling to cover the cost of rapid expansion - but Spyglass believes that now is the time to buy. The company has said it is interested in buying cinemas in international markets as well as in the US.
Spyglass' Shanghai Noon opened strongly in the US last weekend, grossing $19.5m over the four-day Memorial Day weekend.