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Cinepolis gets behind pix

'Italian Job' first pic to get company's seal of approval

MEXICO CITY — One of Mexico’s largest exhibs wants to guarantee its auds a good time at the movies.

Starting today Cinepolis will select films that it guarantees ticket buyers will enjoy; if not, they get to see another for free.

The first film to get the Cinepolis Guarantee is “The Italian Job,” which premieres in Mexico today.

Once a guaranteed film begins, moviegoers have a half-hour to decide to stay or leave, in which case they will receive a 30-day coupon good for any other movie that Cinepolis shows.

The innovative program was the brainchild of Enrique Ramirez Magana, general director of Organizacion Ramirez. Company owns Cinepolis and three other cinema chains in Mexico, making it the nation’s largest exhib, with a 45% market share, according to an AC Nielsen study.

Cinepolis plans to guarantee no more than two films at a time. The chain’s three regional programming directors, as well as its national director of programming, Mike Moraskie, are charged with reviewing titles and deciding whether they are good enough to endorse.

Next week, said Victoria Bonatti, head of marketing for Cinepolis, they will consider “Bend It Like Beckham,” which will premiere Sept. 19. Program was pilot-tested in Morelia, Michoacan, at the outset of the year. This time it will be launched in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Morelia, Toluca and Torreon. After four weeks, Cinepolis will review ticket sales, aud response and the number of guarantees called in to determine whether to continue the scheme or even to expand it nationwide.

It remains to be seen how distributors will react to the program. “They’ll probably pressure us to pick their movies,” Bonatti said.