Reliance tops 500 with Malaysia screens

Indian empire also extends to 25 U.S. cities

HONG KONG -- The opening this week of a new multiplex at Kedah in Malaysia lifted Indian film conglomerate Reliance's exhibition circuit past the 500 screen mark.

The cinema, launched as a joint venture with Malaysia's Lotus Five Star group, is a six-screener located in the Landmark Central Shopping Centre in Kulim at the heart of the Kedah high-tech region.

Big Cinemas, a unit of Reliance MediaWorks, now counts 240 screens in 75 Indian cities, multiplexes in 25 U.S. cities and a network that is the third largest in fast-growing Malaysia. The Malaysian circuit plays Hollywood, Chinese, Malay and Tamil films with admissions of some 1.5 million people of Indian origin.

"This expansion underscores our attempts to build scale, quality, innovation and pioneering formats which improve the movie going experience for audiences the world over," said Reliance MediaWorks CEO Anil Arjun. The company says it expects to open a further 100 screens in the next year.