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Shochiku, Cinemark bow first plex

TOKYO — Japanese film company Shochiku Co. and American multiplex operator Cinemark Intl. Inc. have officially entered the Japanese multiplex market. Their first joint venture multiplex opened in Kobe over the weekend.

The seven-screen MOVIX Rokko, the first multiplex from the Shochiku Cinemark Theaters venture, attracted about 5,000 people over its opening weekend.

Shochiku officials said they were “very pleased” with the attendance figure.

Shochiku distributes and produces films. It operates about 200 movie theaters in Japan. The joint venture project with Cinemark, the world’s fourth-largest multiplex company, is part of Shochiku’s “hundred-screen dream” of in-creasing the number of movie theaters it operates by about 33% by the turn of the century.

Shochiku and Cinemark now join Warner/Mycal and AMC Entertainment Inc. in the multiplex business in Japan. The new multiplex in Kobe is the second to be opened in a Japanese city with a population of over 1 million, fol-lowing the spring 1996 launch of an AMC multiplex in Fukuoka.

Shochiku and Cinemark each have a 26.7% stake in the project, and the other partners in the minority include real estate developer Orix Corp., candy maker Lotte Co. Ltd., and other Japanese firms such as Obayashi Corp. and Shimizu Corp. The capital for the multiplex venture is 3 billion yen ($24.8 million).

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