Is This CEO Crazy? “People will either say I’m a genius or a bumbling lunatic,” says Emagine CEO Paul Glantz. He’s got that right. In the midst of a global pandemic, in Michigan, a state where the battle over business shutdowns has turned deeply toxic, he’s taken up what would seem to be the most quixotic of quests: a rollup of idled midwestern movie theaters.

In an interview with Chief Executive, Glantz, CEO of the Troy, Michigan-based outfit with 21 company-operated or licensed theaters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, explains why—in the face of Covid, with zero revenues flowing into his till for months, and amid seismic shift in the movie business to home consumption—he sees opportunity.

“Realistically, I understand the headwinds and how pundits talk about our industry being over, but I’m a believer in people wanting experiences outside their home,” Glantz told Chief Executive on Thursday. “Some don’t. But the world is big enough that I don’t have to conquer every element of the population to have a successful business. We need to grow our market share of movie-goers by giving them a great experience.”

To do that, he’s using Covid as an opportunity to retool his theaters into full-service, luxury destinations. Think: Lobby bars. Waiters. Reclining chairs. All the while betting—big, as he repeated—on the notion that vaccine-emboldened Americans soon will begin trickling, then streaming (pun not intended) out of their homes and back into movie theaters. Maybe genius after all. Read the full article >