Movie theaters are returning to regional malls.

Movie theaters are making a big comeback at malls.

A few years ago the industry got hit with problems in overbuilding and lackluster seasons for summer blockbusters. That sent a slew of movie theater operators into bankruptcy.

But theaters are returning into favor with mall owners, who like the traffic they bring in as non-traditional anchors.

Michael Dee, senior vice president, national Director of Retail for Grubb & Ellis Companys says there's been a resurgence in freestanding and multi-screen theaters within regional malls all over the country.

“What theaters do is draw people into the mall which prompts impulse buys,” adds Dee.

For example, in May, NorthPark opened a 3,500-seat, 15-screen AMC megaplex as part of a $200 million expansion that also added retailers Nordstrom, Barneys New York and 135 specialty stores.

“It's bringing people into the mall at night, which helps the restaurants and the food court,” says Derek Wood, director of leasing at NorthPark.