National Amusements, Inc.
FormerlyNortheast Theater Corporation (1936–1959)
Company typePrivate
Founded1936; 88 years ago (1936) in Dedham, Massachusetts
FounderMichael Redstone
Key people
Shari Redstone (President)
ProductsMovie theaters
OwnerShari Redstone
Number of employees
23,900 (2017)
DivisionsShowcase Cinemas
SubsidiariesParamount Global (9.76% of total shares and 77.4% of total voting power)[1]
UCI Cinemas (Brazil)

National Amusements, Inc. is an American privately owned movie theater operator and mass media holding company incorporated in Maryland and based in Norwood, Massachusetts.[2]

The company owns more than 1,500 cinema theaters throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America under several brands, such as Showcase Cinemas, Multiplex Cinemas, and Cinema de Lux. It is the controlling shareholder of Paramount Global.


The evolution of Paramount
1912Famous Players Film Company is founded
1913Lasky Feature Play Company is founded
1914Paramount Pictures is founded as a film distributor
1916Famous Players and Lasky merge as Famous Players–Lasky and acquire Paramount
1920Group W forms with the launch of KDKA-AM
1927CBS is founded; Famous Players–Lasky assumes Paramount's name
1929Paramount buys 49% of CBS
1932Paramount sells back shares of CBS
1950Desilu is founded and CBS distributes its television programs
1952CBS creates the CBS Television Film Sales division
1958CBS Television Film Sales renamed to CBS Films
1966Gulf+Western buys Paramount
1968Gulf+Western acquires Desilu and renames it Paramount Television; CBS Films becomes CBS Enterprises
1970CBS Enterprises renamed to Viacom
1971Viacom is spun off from CBS as a separate company
1985Viacom buys full ownership of Showtime and MTV Networks
1986National Amusements buys Viacom
1989Gulf+Western renamed to Paramount Communications
1994Viacom acquires Paramount Communications
1995Westinghouse buys CBS
1997Westinghouse renamed to CBS Corporation
2000Viacom buys CBS Corporation
2001Viacom buys BET Networks
2005Viacom splits into second CBS Corporation and Viacom
2019CBS Corporation and Viacom re-merge to form ViacomCBS
2022ViacomCBS changes its name to Paramount Global

The company was founded by Michael Redstone in 1936 in the Boston suburb of Dedham as Northeast Theater Corporation, operating a chain of movie theaters in the region. In 1959, when the founder's son Sumner Redstone joined the company, it was renamed National Amusements, the present name.

On June 10, 1987, the company became the majority owner of the original incarnation of Viacom,[3] a former CBS subsidiary syndicating television programs to stations around the United States. Since the buyout, Viacom continued to expand through purchases from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, announcing plans to merge with Paramount Communications (formerly Gulf+Western), parent of Paramount Pictures, in 1993 (which closed in 1994), buying the Blockbuster Video chain in 1994, merging with the original CBS Corporation in 2000,[4] and acquiring BET Holdings (which became BET Networks) in 2001.[5]

In March 2005, due to Viacom's declining stock price, National Amusements announced that it would split its media subsidiary into two companies that would remain under its control, which was completed on December 31.[6][7] The original Viacom became the second CBS Corporation as it kept CBS, Simon & Schuster,[8] and Paramount Network Television (now CBS Studios), among other assets, while MTV Networks, BET Networks, and Paramount Pictures were spun-off to a sister company under the Viacom name. The second iterations of Viacom and CBS Corporation commenced trading on January 3, 2006.[9]

At the end of 2008, due to financial troubles, owners Sumner Redstone and Shari Redstone sold $400 million of nonvoting shares in National Amusements.[10][11] In October 2009, the company sold almost $1 billion of its interest in the stock of CBS and Viacom[12] and sold 35 theaters to Rave Motion Pictures. Today these theatres are owned by Cinemark, AMC, Alamo, or have closed. National Amusements now almost exclusively operates theaters in the Northeastern United States (with the exception of one location in Ohio).[13] The following year, National Amusements planned to sell $390 million of notes to refinance a large part of the company's bank owed debt.[14]

In 2019, it was announced that the multinational media conglomerates controlled by National Amusements — Viacom and CBS Corporation — would re-merge to form a new company named ViacomCBS.[15] Viacom and CBS announced that the merger would close on December 4;[16][17] following the official close,[18] the company began trading on NASDAQ the following day. In 2022, the company was renamed Paramount Global.[19]

In January 2024, it was reported that David Ellison was interested in buying National Amusements from Shari Redstone. If the acquisition comes true, it would be placed under Ellison's Skydance Media.[20]

Current operations

City Center 15 Cinema de Lux in White Plains, New York. The lobby includes a waiting area with a television, newspaper rack and sofas (left), a piano (right of center), and a restaurant (not pictured).

The company operates more than 1,500 movie screens across the Northeastern United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America under its Showcase Cinemas, Showcase Cinema de Lux, Multiplex Cinemas, and Cinema de Lux. In Canada, National Amusements also owned Famous Players theatres through Viacom which today are now owned by Cineplex Entertainment and Landmark Cinemas. In 2004, National Amusements acquired the Brazilian operations to cinema chain UCI, and revamping it to be more in line with Showcase. They also share some of the corporate identities of Showcase and have XPlus & De Lux rooms in selected cinemas, as well as fully reclining seats.

National Amusements owns a 9.7% equity stake and 79.9% voting interest in Paramount Global, and used to operate its predecessors, CBS Corporation and The second Viacom before their closure in 2019, both split from the also defunct First Viacom.[21] The company may hold an unspecified stake in Audacy, Inc., as part of the reverse Morris trust that spun CBS's radio assets off to that company; CBS Corporation shareholders overall held a 72% stake in the then-named Entercom as of the spin-off.[22]

Sumner Redstone, who was National Amusements' chairman, CEO and owner, died on August 11, 2020.[23][24][25]


  1. ^ "Inline XBRL Viewer".
  2. ^ U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2018-03-26). "U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR".
  3. ^ "Viacom Inc. acquires Viacom International Inc". Los Angeles Times. June 10, 1987. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  4. ^ "CBS And Viacom Complete Merger". April 26, 2000. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  5. ^ "Viacom buys BET for $2.3B in stock - Nov. 3, 2000". Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  6. ^ Friedman, Wayne (June 15, 2005). "Viacom, CBS Set To Split--Again". MediaPost. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  7. ^ Wilkerson, David B. (October 18, 2005). "Viacom moves up split date". MarketWatch. Archived from the original on August 10, 2022. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  8. ^ "Bertelsmann buys Simon & Schuster for $2.2 billion in U.S. publishing play". Reuters. 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2023-04-27.
  9. ^ Alfano, Sean (January 3, 2006). "CBS, Viacom Formally Split". CBS News. Archived from the original on March 10, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  10. ^ James, Meg (October 11, 2008). "Redstone hit by credit troubles". LA Times. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  11. ^ "Report: Shari Redstone Rejected $1 Billion Buyout Offer of Her Stake in Family Empire". Variety. 21 December 2015.
  12. ^ Edward B. Colby (2009-10-14). "National Amusements Inc. to sell nearly $1B of its Viacom, CBS stock". The Daily News Transcript. Archived from the original on 2010-04-24.
  13. ^ Nikki Finke (2009-12-07). "Rave To Acquire 35 Of Redstone's National Amusements Theater Complexes". Archived from the original on 2013-02-15.
  14. ^ Korby, Boris; Maheshwari, Sapna (November 23, 2010). "National Amusements Plans to Sell $390 Million of Notes to Refinance Debt". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
  15. ^ "Media giants to merge in latest mega-deal". 2019-08-13. Retrieved 2019-08-13.
  16. ^ "CBS Corporation and Viacom Inc. Announce Expected Closing Date of Merger". Business Wire. November 25, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2019.
  17. ^ "CBS and Viacom Reveal December Merger Date – Mark Your Calendars". November 25, 2019.
  18. ^ Weprin, Alex (December 4, 2019). "Bob Bakish's Memo to ViacomCBS Staff: Merger "A Historic Moment"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  19. ^ Mullin, Benjamin; Chin, Kimberly (15 February 2022). "ViacomCBS Renames Itself Paramount". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  20. ^ "David Ellison Makes Offer for Redstone Family's Media Empire". 2024-01-24. Retrieved 2024-01-26.
  21. ^ "2021 Proxy Statement". ViacomCBS, Inc. Archived from the original on March 26, 2022. Retrieved February 17, 2022.
  22. ^ "CBS Sets Radio Division Merger With Entercom". Variety. 2 February 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  23. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2020-08-12). "Sumner Redstone, Towering Media Mogul Who Helped Shape Modern Entertainment Industry, Dies at 97". Variety.
  24. ^ James, Meg (2020-08-12). "Media mogul Sumner Redstone, whose empire included Viacom and CBS, dies at 97". Los Angeles Times.
  25. ^ Kandell, Jonathan (2020-08-12). "Sumner Redstone Dies at 97; Built Media Empire and Long Reigned Over It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.

Further reading