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AMC Renews Lease For Massive Boston Cinema Amid Turbulent Year For Movie Theaters

Boston’s largest movie theater is committing to 10 more years at its downtown home.

AMC Boston Common, a 19-screen movie theater at the base of the Millennium Place residential tower at 175 Tremont St., executed two five-year lease extensions through July 2031, according to Moody’s. The move comes at a tenuous time for cinemas as the properties face a year of closures and movies increasingly are being released on streaming services.

The AMC Boston Common at 175 Tremont St. in downtown Boston.

A spokesperson for landlord Millennium Partners confirmed AMC had made a long-term lease commitment but declined to disclose further details. AMC didn't respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The theater, a former Loews Theater absorbed and rebranded by AMC, occupies approximately 135K SF, and its 20-year lease was set to expire June 30, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing detailing the property disclosed in 2013. The lease includes six five-year renewal options.

AMC's theaters have opened — with local occupancy restrictions — ahead of rival Regal Cinemas, which has kept its theaters dark for six months. Regal plans to reopen Friday, including its 13-screen, 69K SF Fenway location at 201 Brookline Ave., part of a larger property Alexandria Real Estate Equities paid $1.5B to acquire earlier this year.

As larger cinemas rebound, smaller chains have struggled. The 44K SF ShowPlace ICON luxury theater in the Seaport closed permanently earlier this month, and Cinemagic closed eight of its New England theaters, including two in Massachusetts. Texas-based luxury cinema Alamo Drafthouse, a pioneer in drink and food service during screenings, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month.

AMC, with seven locations within 20 miles of Boston, was in dire straits last year before securing a $917M lifeline in January, which AMC said would help it stave off bankruptcy. The company, which expects 99% of its nearly 600 U.S. locations to be reopened, has $450M in deferred rent companywide, executives said in a recent earnings call.

“We renegotiated hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of lease agreements,” AMC CEO Adam Aaron said, according to a transcript of the call. “And our theater landlords wanted us to stay in business, and they wanted to keep us around.” 

Moviegoers are trickling back to cinemas after a year of periodic restricted openings and closures, with the top 5 films last weekend grossing more than $1M for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to Box Office News. Hollywood has partnered with streaming services to release new movies simultaneously on services like HBO Max and Hulu, including blockbusters like Godzilla vs. Kong.