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AMC says Mexico ripe for exhib biz expansion

AMC Entertainment Inc. has hired a real estate rep to look for sites in Mexico as the Kansas City-based exhibitor looks to build its presence south of the border.

Since the deregulation of the exhib biz in Mexico earlier this year, AMC execs have looked into opening multiplexes.

Cinemas previously owned by the government are generally low-budget sites that have not drawn.

“The state of the hardware down there is where it was here 30 years ago,” said Philip M. Singleton, AMC chief operating officer.

AMC is banking on the improving Mexican economy and the hope that the North American Free Trade Agreement will be a further boon. With more disposable income and more modern cinemas, Mexicans may be more inclined to go to the movies.

“The middle class seems to have been growing over the last decade, so the timing seems to be pretty good,” Singleton said. “There’s a pretty ripe market.”

AMC, which hired Koll Cushman Realty Mexico to look for sites, declined to disclose the number of screens it planned to open in Mexico or the amount it plans to spend.

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