Mexico's Cinepolis sets india launch

Multiplex player takes on local exhibitor market

NEW DELHI -- Mexican multiplex major Cinepolis will become the first international theatrical player to foray into India with plans to invest about ($78.45 million) to launch 110 screens across eight cities over the next three years to start with.

New Delhi-based Cinepolis India country head Milan Saini said Friday that the first property will open in the second half of this year.

“We will make India the country with our largest presence outside Mexico. We will open around 500 screens in the next seven years and for every screen, we will be spending around $700,000,” added Saini.

The only international theatrical player previously to have ventured into India was Australia's Village Roadshow which worked with New Delhi-based Priya Exhibitors here in 1997. However, Village Roadshow sold its 40% stake to Priya and exited the joint venture in 2002.

A privately held company, Cinepolis operates over 2,000 screens, largely in South America, with revenues of $675 million and is considered the fifth-largest cinema chain in the world.

Cinepolis plans to introduce megaplexes which feature 10 or more screens at a single location, offering competition to existing players such as PVR and India's largest theatrical chain, Big Cinemas. Typically, multiplexes in India feature about four to six screens.

Also planned are exclusive luxury cinema properties  branded as Cinepolis VIP, while the product mix will also include budget cinemas. “We are also experimenting with a low-cost cinema brand in Mexico, which might be introduced to India at a later stage,” Saini said.