Mexican Cinemex buys up rival chain

General Cinema purchase adds 62 screens to exhib's count

MEXICO CITY — Mexican exhib Cinemex has completed the purchase of rival General Cinema, giving the company just over a quarter of the country’s box office market share.

The deal, which gives Cinemex a total of 324 screens in 29 theaters, is also forcing the young chain to rethink its policy of concentrating solely on the Mexico City market.

Founded in 1995, Cinemex has already achieved its goal of dominating the capital, taking more than half of the Mexico City’s box office last January.

General Cinema has a total of 62 screens in five theaters, two of which are in metropolitan Mexico City. However, with the others spread out in three provincial cities, execs now acknowledge that Cinemex may have outgrown its strategy of concentration in one market.

“Management is currently analyzing how the company can maximize the value of GC Mexico in light of the cinemas located in Guadalajara, Leon and Aguascalientes,” said Cinemex’s co-founder Matthew Heyman.

Worth more than $200 million, Cinemex’s strategy of providing top-quality multiplexes in a market where many theaters were shoddy has helped revolutionize exhibition in Mexico.

The chain now expects to generate total revenue of more than $120 million this year with net box office topping $72 million.

It also plans to open four more theaters in Mexico City in 2000, with a total of 40 screens.

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