Flu scare shutters Mexico theaters

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The swine-flu outbreak in Mexico has forced the nation's top exhibitors to shut down dozens of theaters in the greater Mexico City area.

Market leader Cinepolis said Sunday that theaters in the capital, the surrounding state of Mexico and the northern state of San Luis Potosi will be closed "until further notice." Cinepolis rival Cinemex also has closed numerous theaters in Mexico City and the state of Mexico until at least Tuesday.

Cinepolis and Cinemex operate 13 of the nation's 25 most profitable complexes in and around the capital.

Videocine's "Igor" and Paramount's "I Love You, Man" opened during the weekend in the territory, and Fox's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," the first blockbuster of the U.S. studios' lucrative tentpole season, is slated to hit theaters Friday.

According to the National Film Chamber, Mexico ranked 13th in worldwide boxoffice receipts last year.

Health officials have said the epidemic has claimed about 80 lives in Mexico, and they believe more than 1,000 people might be infected with the virus. On Friday, the government shuttered schools, state-run theaters and museums, which likely will remain closed this week.

Mexico's finance minister said he expects the outbreak to have a major affect on the economy.
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