Corporate History

Loews Cineplex Entertainment was formed in 1998 with the merger of two theatre circuits,  Loews Theatres and the Cineplex Odeon Corporation, to create one of the largest motion picture exhibition companies in the world.

Loews Theatres, the oldest theatre circuit in North America, was founded in 1904 by Marcus Loew, whose first “nickelodeon” in a rented store evolved into the Loews Theatres circuit.  By the start of World War I, the young chain of theatres had locations throughout the U.S.  In order to supply his theatres with new film product, Loew purchased a failing silent movie production studio named Metro Company.  In 1924, Loew joined forces with the legendary Louis B. Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn to form the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio.

With the supply of film secured and the public’s love for Hollywood entertainment established, Loews Theatres continued to grow from coast to coast throughout the 1930’s and ‘40’s.  In 1954, the Department of Justice ruled that theatre circuits such as Loews, Paramount and Warner Brothers, which engaged in film production and distribution as well as the operation of theatres, must divest their studio facilities from their theatre chains.  Thus, Loews Theatres and MGM became separate entities, and the theatre circuit continued on its own.

In the years that followed, Loews Theatres expanded and was the genesis of what became the Loews Corporation.  In 1985, the Loews Corporation sold its 350 screen circuit to a privately held company.  Soon after, the theatre chain was purchased by Tri-Star Pictures which in turn merged with the Entertainment Business Sector of Coca Cola, forming Columbia Pictures Entertainment.  It was during this time that Loews Theatres experienced its greatest growth, acquiring four regional theatre circuits and building many new multiplexes, more than doubling in size to almost 1000 screens.  In 1989, Coca Cola sold Columbia Pictures Entertainment to the Sony Corporation of America.

Cineplex Odeon Corporation was founded in 1979 with the opening of its first theatre complex, a 21 screen megaplex at Toronto’s Eaton Centre.  Throughout the 1980’s, the company expanded through new construction and through  acquisitions of regional theatre circuits in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Washington DC and Seattle.

In 1986, Cineplex secured a significant investment in the corporation from Universal Studios Inc. and subsequently built its first flagship theatre in the U.S., an 18 screen complex at Universal’s “City Walk” in Los Angeles.  The theatre has become one of the highest grossing theatres in North America.

Cineplex Odeon Corporation merged with Loews Theatres in May 1998, creating Loews Cineplex Entertainment, one of the world’s largest motion picture theatrical exhibition companies.   Loews Cineplex Entertainment’s divisions include Loews Cineplex United States, Cineplex Odeon Canada and Loews Cineplex International. 

Today, Loews Cineplex Entertainment operates 2926 screens in 385 locations primarily in major cities throughout the United States, Canada and Europe under the Loews, Cineplex Odeon and Sony names. In addition, Loews Cineplex Entertainment is a co-venture partner in Magic Johnson Theatres and Star Theatres. Internationally, the theatre circuit is a partner in Yelmo Cineplex of Spain, De Laurentiis Cineplex of Italy, Odeon Cineplex of Turkey and Far East Cineplex of Vietnam.