TOKYO — U.S. movie exhibitor Loews Cineplex Entertainment will enter the Japanese market, with plans to initially build five multiplexes, a Japanese financial daily reported over the weekend.
Loews will aim for the major urban markets with its first plexes boasting 14 or 15 screens built in Tokyo and Osaka and their surrounding suburbs over the next two years, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported citing industry sources.
Sony Pictures Entertainment, a U.S. unit of Sony Corp., will have a 40% equity stake in Loews Cineplex while Universal Studios holds a 26% stake, the paper said.
Foreign exhibitors are closing in on controlling about 20% of the Japanese market, and the addition of Loews should further enhance their grip in the exhibition market that is tightly controlled by Japan’s big three movie companies — Toho, Toei and Shochiku.
The leading foreign exhibition company is Warner Mycal, which has just over 10% of the market.