CANNES – Indonesia’s claustrophobic cinema exhibition scene may be broken open this year by the launch of new theater chain Cinemaxx.

Cinemaxx has no connection to the German multiplex chain of the same name. Instead it is an offshoot of Lippo, one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the vast country which is still regarded by economists as a ‘dragon economy.’

Using Lippo’s wide-spread real estate activities, Cinemaxx aims to open 22 multiplexes this year with a total of 160 screens.

That would instantly add a roughly 20% expansion to the number of available cinema screens in the country which is not only the world’s 4th most populous, it is also the 15th largest in terms of land mass, spread over a huge archipelago.

Currently Indonesia has some 800 screens, of which more that 600 are controlled by the 21 Cineplex (aka Cinema 21). In recent months South Korean cinema chain CJ-CGV has become the largest shareholder in Blitz Cinemas, which was started six years ago and has grown organically to become Cinema 21’s only significant current challenger.

Lippo says it wants Cinemaxx to reach 1,000 screens within 5 years, which would then make it Indonesia’s largest exhibitor.

Lippo sees Cinemaxx as part of a vertically integrated media empire spanning newspapers, TV (First Media, Big TV), cable and recently Internet service provision.

Cinemaxx’s footprint will initially target locations in second and third tier cities – thus minimizing direct competition with Cinema 21 in the early stages – before moving into capital city Jakarta.

The company also expects to be involved as a distributor, expanding the number of imported films and also handling more locally-made Indonesian films.

“We are looking for content for 2014-2015,” said head of film acquisitions and distribution, Michael Sim. “We expect to be able to access Hollywood studio content [currently sub-distributed by Cinema 21 offshoot Omega] and films from Lotus and Blitz, but we can’t count on getting any from any of 21’s own acquisitions. So we need some of our own.” Action and horror currently remain the strongest genres with Indonesian audiences.