NEW YORK — Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp. named Sony Corp. exec Ted Shugrue on Monday to run a newly formed international operating division to develop and operate movie theaters outside North America.
The new unit’s first deal will be a 50-50 joint venture with Spanish exhib Yelmo Films to develop movie theaters in Spain, Loews confirmed (Daily Variety, June 3). The Yelmo joint venture aims to build 15 to 20 theaters with 175 screens in the next several years, Loews said.
“With its strong economy, favorable political environment and significant appetite for film, Spain is a perfect market for Loews Cineplex to begin what will be an aggressive international expansion,” Shugrue said in a statement. “The majority of Spain’s existing screens are either singles or twins and less than a third of all screens are in multiplexes,” Shugrue said.
Expanding overseas was one of the objectives set last year by Loews Cineplex when Sony’s Loews Theaters and Cineplex Odeon Corp. announced their merger, which was completed last month.
“The theatrical exhibition marketplace remains significantly underscreened worldwide and has tremendous growth potential for Loews Cineplex,” Loews Cineplex prexy-CEO Lawrence J. Ruisi said in a statement.
Yelmo now operates 13 theaters with 108 screens in Spain that will contribute to the joint venture with Loews, while the U.S. exhib will contribute cash to fund the construction of theaters. Yelmo chief operating officer Ricardo Evole will be president and general manager of the venture.
Of the 15-20 theaters planned, eight theaters with 70 screens are already “in various stages of development,” Loews said.
Shugrue has served in several different jobs at Sony since 1996, including exec VP of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group. Previously he spent nine years as prexy of Columbia TriStar Film Distributors Intl.