Cinepolis adds 500 3-D screens

Rollout has already begun, will continue through 2010

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's Cinepolis, the world's fifth-largest theater chain, is adding 500 3-D screens to its circuit via a partnership with RealD.

The rollout, which will continue through 2010, has already begun with six new screens installed in Mexico for the upcoming release of "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Cinepolis is gearing up for an estimated 30 studio 3-D releases slated to hit the Latin American market in 2009 and 2010.

Cinepolis and RealD are co-financing the venture, though Cinepolis declined to disclose financial details when contacted Thursday.

The deal provides a major platform for 3-D cinema in Latin America as Cinepolis continues to expand in the region. Cinepolis rival Cinemark also has a partnership with RealD.

"This massive expansion of screens into the critical markets of Central and South America is a giant leap forward for Cinepolis, RealD and all content creators who are committed to the worldwide deployment of digital 3-D," said DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said.

Cinepolis, owned by the Ramirez family, currently has more than 1,800 screens. In recent years, as Mexico's exhibition market has grown more saturated, the exhibitor has expanded into Guatemala, Panama, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras and Colombia. Moving forward, Cinepolis is eyeing Brazil's underserved exhibition market.