Int’l exhibs plan Italo plexes

MILAN — Warner Bros. Intl. Theaters and Village Roadshow Intl. have announced a joint venture with Italy’s Focus to develop multiplex cinemas in Italy.

The new company, to be called Warner Vision Cinemas, will have a capital base of about 40 billion lire ($22 million), and will specialize in building multiplex cinemas in shopping malls in suburban areas. The first are skedded for the cities of Vicenza and Verona, in Northern Italy, and will open at the end of October. Another multi in the Southern Italian city of Bari will bow by the end of the year.

“Besides these three cinemas, which will open inside large shopping malls, we are working on a huge 21-screen multiplex in Cinecitta’s studios, near Rome, and an 11-screen complex in the outskirts of Milan,” Focus CEO Ettore Rosboch said.

In underscreened Italy, multiplexes are making an impact on the exhibition sector. According to ANEC, the national association of multiplex owners, 25 more multiplex cinemas will open in several Italian cities, including the nine-screen complex that Fininvest film unit Medusa Films now is building near Bologna.

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