The chain was forced to permanently close 14 locations. 

Studio Movie Grill announced Wednesday that it has emerged from bankruptcy with a slimmer footprint and new leadership. 

The Dallas-based chain, which combines movies with full-service dining, has reopened 17 locations in five states, with one set to reopen in Indianapolis next week and another in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, at the end of May. A 14-screen location in Alpharetta, Georgia will finish construction later this year, as well. At the time of bankruptcy, Studio Movie Grill had 33 stores.

CFO and COO Ted Croft, who joined Studio Movie Grill in 2011, will move into the CEO role, replacing founder Brian Schultz.

“This has been a challenging time for the industry and the brand,” Croft said in a statement. “It’s a testament to SMG’s founder, team members, and our other stakeholders, that we’re standing here today delivering a best-in-class experience to folks getting out of their homes and safely back into theaters.”

In the years leading up to the bankruptcy in October, Studio Movie Grill was the fastest-growing company-owned theater chain and built the “largest hospitality-centric platform in the exhibition industry,” according to court filings. Going into the pandemic, the dine-in movie chain had more than 25 years of year-to-year growth. 

COVID quickly reversed that momentum, as state and local restrictions forced Studio Movie Grill to shut down from March until June. To combat decreasing sales, the concept pushed to reduce operating and lease expenses and created new revenue streams like private theater rentals. At the time of filing, the brand had roughly $104 million in secured liabilities and $231.1 million in unsecured liabilities. The chain had $100,000 in current cash assets. 

The chain’s reorganization plan involved a creditors’ trust to oversee liquidation of some assets and handle $50 million worth of continent and non-continent general unsecured debt, according to the Dallas Business Journal. 

While Studio Movie Grill noted in October that supply of films remained slim, the spring has seen a resurgence in revenue-generating movies. For example, Godzilla vs. Kong, in theaters since early April, is the largest-grossing movie released during the pandemic. It’s earned more than $300 million internationally and $80 million domestically. Mortal Kombat, another potential blockbuster, will be released this Friday. 

Feature, Finance