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WB, German Company In Joint Venture

Despite gloomy market forecasts based on increased competition from tv and video and a sharp drop in the age of theatergoers, U.S. exhibitors appear confident of the future in a united Germany.

In the latest move by an American major into western Germany, Constantin Kinoholding and Warner Bros, announced formation of a new company Jan. 10, Constantin-Warner Kino, to build and operate cinema centers in Germany.

Constantin Kinoholding made the announcement at a press conference following the laying of the cornerstone of the company’s Cinedom complex in Cologne.

First projects of the Constantin-Warner joint venture include the Cinedom, with 13 screens and 3,200 seats, and the first German Warner Multiplex in Gelsenkirchen with nine screens and 2,751 seats.

The Gelsenkirchen multiplex in Germany’s industrial Ruhr area is slated to open on March 21, and the Cinedom at the end of December.

United Cinemas Intl., a joint venture of Paramount Communications and MCA/Universal, is constructing an 18-unit multiplex in Ruhr Park near Bochum, also in the nation’s industrial area. Last October, UCI opened a 3,000-seat multiplex in a shopping center near Cologne.

The number of screens in western Germany has remained fairly constant over the past five years. At the end of November, the number of screens in western Germany totaled 3,226, down from 3,269 in 1989. There were 750 screens in eastern Germany. The Americans are confident that a new type of multiplex theater, which has been successful in England, is the ticket for Germany. The concept of a mammoth, luxurious theatrical complex is new in Germany, but some German experts take a dim view of such cinecenters on grounds they are not the answer for Germany.

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