Management: Not so Sad Sack

Charging into the cavernous lobby of New England's biggest movie theater, the man with the big cigar gestured expansively at an abstract mosaic in ceramic tile. "Looka that, friend," he roared. "Know what it cost? Twelve big ones [i.e., $12,000]." Newly refurbished and reopened as the Music Hall, Boston's old, 4,250-seat Metropolitan Theater was undeniably cinemajestic. So, in his own way, is its boss—hefty (6 ft., 240 lbs.) Ben Sack, 51.

Though television once seemed about to bankrupt the movie-theater business, many cinemas are making money again by showing wide-screened, star-studded spectaculars for longer runs and at higher prices. Big...

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