JUPITER, FL - Three Muvico Theatres executives have joined forces to launch Paragon Entertainment. Michael F. Whalen, Jr., Muvico's former CEO; Michael Wilson, former SVP of Development and Hank Lightstone, former COO. Paragon will focus on developing, owning, operating, and managing movie theaters. Paragon will also pursue a strategy of retrofitting existing smaller theaters as well retrofitting existing retail space that has become available in. Such retrofits and upgrades would include stadium seating, digital projection via its relationship with Sony Electronics, high-end interactive arcades, and bowling.
"There exist tremendous opportunities in the entertainment space to redefine the movie-going and the entertainment experience while capitalizing on the unbalanced supply and demand for retail space," commented Whalen. "We plan on providing a differentiated customer experience to our guests and work with landlords to find solutions to increase mall traffic and fill excess space. Most of all, I am honored to be working with my two best friends, men whom I respect and who have decades of experience in the motion picture industry".
Paragon currently has plans to open three theatres in 2010. The first theater is in CocoWalk (Miami). The site at CocoWalk was operated for many years by AMC but will now see a $4 million upgrade to include stadium seating, high-definition digital projection with 3D, all reserved VIP seating, two lounge auditoria, a bar/restaurant concept, and valet car service. "We are excited to be part of the revitalization of CocoWalk and we plan on creating the finest movie-going experience in Miami," noted Whalen. The theater will be branded a Muvico Theater under a licensing agreement between Paragon and Muvico.
Paragon, via its strategic relationship with Splitsville, will open a 70,000 sq. foot entertainment center in Fredericksburg, VA in late March 2010. The theater portion, branded Muvico, will have 12 high-definition digital screens, with 3 of them including Premier VIP seating for 21 and over serving cocktails and food. The luxury bowling facility will have 16 lanes of bowling with Splitsville's signature gourmet restaurant. "Our concept with Splitsville will create an entertainment destination that will draw people from a 15 to 20 mile radius," said Wilson. "We are excited about opening a state-of-the-art theater and luxury bowling restaurant that should expand movie going admissions by more than 50% in this market."
Paragon will also open a luxury 7-screen theater at Block 37 in downtown Chicago in mid-2010. The theater will be branded Muvico to capitalize on Muvico's brand name in the Chicago market where it operates a luxury theater in Rosemont, IL. Paragon has formed a relationship with a well-known restaurateur and will feature a signature restaurant. To drive greater frequency, Paragon will launch a loyalty club, which will have grant members access to exclusive screening invitations, advanced ticket sales and other benefits. "We look forward to providing the most unique moviegoing experience in Chicago. Our concept will redefine the whole ‘dinner and a movie' experience," noted Lightstone.
Paragon is based in Jupiter, FL and has plans to work closely with Frank Entertainment Companies in the future. "I have an immense amount of respect for Bruce Frank and we see the world of theater exhibition and entertainment the same way," said Whalen. "The world of theater exhibition is changing rapidly with the advent of alternative content and digital projection. There is going to be less movie product over the next several years with shorter runtimes in theaters. The days of building and operating 24- and 30-screen movie theaters are gone and we need to create entertainment destinations for our patrons that do more that just exhibit movies and serve popcorn."