AMC, the country's second-largest theater chain, is devoting select screens at 72 of its theaters to "independent films," reports the Los Angeles Times. Is this just a PR ploy? As the Times story notes, "Some of the most popular of these independent films already screen at AMC theaters — the documentary Super Size Me, say, or the adult drama Brokeback Mountain," but the company alleges that they'll reach out to a "broader range" of titles "for longer stretches of time."
As Sundance CInemas ramps up across the country and the bullish Mark Cuban continues to champion Landmark Cinemas (and other big chains like Regal also cater to some indies), it will be interesting to see if the success of so-called specialty films cannabilizes itself in theaters. Can these movies support the screens they have struggled so long to attain? And how will AMC's indie initiative respond to day-and-date releases? Unrated or NC-17 films? And how indie will they go? All good questions not answered in the story. Time will tell.