In late 1995 Century announced plans to expand from its then-total of 476 to nearly 700 screens and, a few months later, changed the plan to “1,000 Screens by 2000.” The company, which now had some $200 million in annual revenues, estimated it would spend a comparable sum on the expansion. The plans also included upgrading all of the company’s theaters that were more than ten years old. This included installing stadium seating, “love seats” (pairs of seats with no armrests in the middle), adding more screens to some smaller multiplexes, adding cafe areas and video arcades to lobbies, improving projection equipment.
In 1997 Century opened its two largest theaters ever, the Century 24 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Century 25 in Orange, California.
As the year 2000 approached, plans were announced for the furthest expansion eastward to date, with at least one theater slated for the Chicago, Illinois market during 2000. The project, in Evanston, was to be an all-stadium seating art film multiplex, the first of its kind in the country. Three new San Francisco Bay area multiplexes, with a total of 61 screens, were also on the agenda. Century began its first forays into Texas, South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, and Colorado. Century’s attention to detail and attractively built multiplexes were highly appealing to the public, and it ranked first in grosses among the 15 biggest theater chains, with the largest average attendance per screen in the country.
The company’s multiplexes typically held as many as half the positions in the list of top 15 or 20 grossing theaters nationwide for a new blockbuster film. Century offered many amenities to bring in customers, screens were large, often curved, and sound systems were all-Dolby and all-digital, with many given George Lucas’s THX certification for exceptional sound.