ROME — After years in the planning stage, UCI — the international exhibition concern that is a joint venture between Paramount and Universal — has unveiled its first multiplex in Italy as well as stepping up plans to construct an extensive network of plexes along the peninsula in the next five years.
The doors were opened Dec. 17 on UCI’s first Italian plex in Curno, Bergamo, a nine-screen site with seating for 2,400, costing 30 billion lire ($16.6 million).
The company’s next launch will be in the capital, with a seven-screen Rome cityplex set to open in September. Construction also is due to begin in January on a 12-screen center in Verona and, soon after that, on a 14-screen plex in Genoa. Others will follow in Milan, Turin, Bologna, Mestre and Naples.
“Italy was a new territory for us, so it required a long period of market research and preparation,” said Nicola Pedde, director of marketing and film-booking for UCI Italia. “But the actual construction phase is taking place in record time of only seven months. We anticipate being positioned among the top three exhibitors in Italy within the next five years.”
UCI plans to build a minimum of 20 multiplexes in Italy between now and 2005, involving a total investment of 650 billion lire ($361 million). The company already has pumped 100 billion lire ($55.5 million) into the Curno, Rome and Verona sites.