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Cinepolis Theater Chain Expands In the U.S.

The Mexican company is the world's fourth-largest theater chain

MEXICO CITY – LatAm’s top exhib Cinepolis, the world’s fourth-largest chain, continues its expansion into the U.S. market with a complex in San Francisco opening by 2014. As the company grows worldwide, it hopes to have 500 screens each in Brazil and India by 2015.

Cinepolis now holds five luxury complexes in California under the Cinepolis-Luxury Cinemas brand and finalized purchases in late 2012 for six properties from Florida-based Paragon Theaters, which continue to run under the Paragon name, bringing their total U.S. screens to 80.

Based out of Morelia, Mexico, the exhib now boasts 2,656 screens domestically with 120 more set to open this year and nearly 3,200 worldwide in 11 countries, where they are looking to grow.

“The strategy is not to expand to new countries but to strengthen the presences we have, with India and Brazil in particular,” said Gabriel Morales Becker, Cinepolis’ sub-director for digital administration and strategy.

Cinepolis earmarked $300 million this year to finalize its conversion of the entire chain to digital projection, making particular headway in South American properties, where many screens remain analog, further opening distribution channels for DCPs southward.

Morales Becker said the final push is happening in Brazil, where 73 screens, or 42% of its presence there, will undergo the conversion by August. The firm completed the changeover at its Mexican properties June 14.

According to the exec, Cinepolis holds only 59 screens in India. It is rumored to be in talks with BIG Cinemas-owned Reliance MediaWorks Ltd., India’s largest chain with about 516 screens.

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