Poland driving cineplex charge in Central Europe

Report: Screen count to jump 11%

The number of cinema screens across Central Europe is set to rise to more than 3,000 by 2011, with Poland leading the multiplex charge, according to research published Monday.

U.K.-based exhibition re-search specialists Dodona Research says the figures represent a net increase of 11% from 2006, in a report titled Cinemagoing Central Europe 2007.

But the number of new cinemas constructed will be far greater because of the anticipated closure of many traditional cinemas, report author Alisdair Ritchie said.

Central Europe is one of the few remaining regions in the world where new cinema construction is still continuing apace, Dodona said.

Poland, the largest market in the region, will see the most growth in new multiplexes, which are springing up in shopping malls across the country. Poland's first multiplex was opened in 1998, and since then more than 400 multiplex screens have been built.

Smaller markets such as Croatia and Romania still have a proliferation of formerly state-owned cinemas, which are usually traditional, single-screen venues. "Many of these are expected to close as investment in modern multiplexes begins to get under way in earnest," the research states.

Cinemagoing Central Eu-rope forecasts admissions to rise by 25% over the next five years.