Biz Briefs: A Deal's Mixed Reviews

A series of cinematic duds has analysts wondering if the movie-house business is slowly going dark, as film fans switch to DVDs. No, say AMC and Loews, which are merging in an estimated $4 billion deal to create AMC Entertainment. The new company will have 4,592 screens in 338 theaters in 30 states, second to market leader Regal's 6,273 screens.

The deal comes amid an industry drought in which ticket sales fell from 1.63 billion in 2002 to 1.53 billion last year. And attendance is lagging again this summer. But since 1970, annual ticket sales have risen 67%, outpacing population...

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