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The Big D is getting a big theater. The biggest of theaters.

Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday started construction in Dallas of its first 24-screen movie theater complex.When completed in March, the 83,000-square-foot Grand 24 theater will be the largest movie theater complex in the country. However, Kansas City is expected to hold that title briefly when AMC's Ward Parkway 12 Cinema opens 10 additional screens on Dec. 9.

The Dallas movie complex is part of AMC's strategy to build large entertainment complexes anchored by a movie theater in major metropolitan areas.

"It represents not only the future of AMC but the comprehensive entertainment center of tomorrow," said Stanley H. Durwood, AMC's chairman and chief executive officer.

AMC already has planned to build 24-screen complexes in a Houston suburb and St. Petersburg, Fla. The Houston-area complex is expected to open in May. No opening date has been set for the Florida project.

The company hopes to add 100 new screens to its chain in 1995. AMC now has 1,612 screens in 238 theaters in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

"With the bigger theaters the idea is you have more attendance, more revenue and therefore more profits to be made," said Dick Walsh, AMC central division vice president. "Clearly, this is the wave of the future."

The Grand 24 will cost AMC from $12 million to $13 million. The complex itself is situated on 15 acres in the 43-acre Stemmons Crossroads development. The development is expected to also include restaurants, a hotel and other entertainment-oriented businesses.

The Stemmons Crossroads development is near the Texas Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys football team.

The Grand 24 will have 4,600 seats and a 7,000-square-foot lobby. There will be 12 ticket selling stations and three concession stands with a total of 20 concession stations.

The movie auditoriums will range from 120 seats to 420 seats.

The Dallas complex will have 150 part-time employees and 10 to 15 full-time employees. It will have many of AMC's newest features such as computer-generated stadium seating and increased chair row spacing.