Conglom pumps plex plans

Three-time Beverly Hills mayor Tom Levyn and former AMC prexy Robert L. Friedman have joined the board of Indian conglom MCorp Global, which is ramping up its plans to build multiplex cinemas on the subcontinent.

MCorp, which has offices in Beverly Hills, India and Shenzhen, China, has an entertainment arm, Bougainvillea Multiplex & Entertainment, that operates two hardtops under the Spice World brand in northern India.

Conglom, which is controlled by telecom billionaire B.K. Modi, also is hatching plans to produce a megabudget “Buddha” biopic.

“In the next three years, we plan to invest about ($110 million) to expand our multiplex chain,” Modi said. “This will take the total screen count of Spice World to about 75 screens.”

Company plans a three-stage investment program involving $22 million of its own coin next year. It is examining a variety of operating formulas, including leasing plexes to established exhibition players to operate. MCorp’s theaters in Varanasi are currently owner-operated by the Spice World team.

Group also will experiment with the digital format by installing digitally enabled screens in some smaller cities. The company is looking at expanding its “4-D” theaters, targeted largely at children.

Besides his civic experience, Levyn is a partner with law firm Christensen, Glaser, Fink, Jacobs, Weil & Shapiro and an expert in risk management. Friedman, whose AMC role spanned domestic and international operations, previously was prexy of Columbia Pictures Distribution.

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