12-screen multiplex to open in 2013

PARIS — Luc Besson’s mini-major EuropaCorp is set to open a 12-screen multiplex near Paris in 2013.

The French company will lease the site, which will sit within a shopping mall, from Unibail-Rodamco, one of Europe’s leading commercial real estate companies. EuropaCorp will invest up to Euros 13 million ($17.5 million) in the multiplex, which will have 2,505 seats.

The project, which was unveiled by EuropaCorp CEO Christophe Lambert earlier this week, has yet to be approved by the authorities in Bobigny, the Paris suburb where it will be located. EuropaCorp has filed a planning proposal, which will be examined on Oct. 11.

The project fits into EuropaCorp’s strategy to diversify its activities.

The company has already leased a multiplex in Marseilles to test-screen its films, and has been planning to build a 14-screen cutting-edge multiplex in the city for nearly six years.

The Marseilles project was delayed for various reasons, but local press reports indicate it is still in the cards, and could be build by 2015.

Analysts have given the Bobigny multiplex plan a cool reception.

“Although EuropaCorp estimates that the multiplex’s operating income will allow it to break even within three years, we’re relatively cautious with regards to this project, which seems too far from EuropaCorp’s core activity,” said Jean-Baptiste Sergeant, an analyst at French research company Gilbert Dupont.

“Considering how mature the multiplex market is, we hope EuropaCorp’s development plan in this field will remain modest,” he added.

Meanwhile, Besson and Tarak Ben Ammar’s $40.5 million, nine-soundstage Paris Studios, is being constructed. It will be located inside the Cite de Cinema site, which will also house production companies, a theater and the Louis Lumiere Film School.

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