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Next Entertainment World, South Korea’s leading independent film financier and distributor, is to expand into theatrical exhibition. It will launch a multiplex chain from 2017 branded as Cine Station Q.

The company took over a former CGV-owned theater in Seoul in March this year to turn it into one of the first branches of Cine Station Q. Three more branches are set to open in Chungju in North Chungcheong Province, Gumi in North Gyeongsang Province and Jinjeop in Gyeonggi Province in 2017.

“Cine Station Q is chain of multiplex cinemas that aim to become regional cultural landmarks,” said NEW in a statement. “Expanding our originally distribution-focused business to exhibition, we aim to arrange a creative culture space as well as to secure stability in our business through organic exchanges of media contents [and exhibition],” said Kim Woo-taek, NEW CEO.

Started as an independent brand in 2008, NEW became an icon of the Korean film industry with smash hits including “Miracle in Cell No. 7” and “The Attorney,” and the recent TV sensation “Descendants of the Sun.” Upcoming NEW releases include Yeon Sang-ho’s zombie apocalypse thriller “Train to Busan,” which opens this month.

NEW listed on the stock market in late 2014 and is part-owned by Chinese film and TV group Zhejiang Huace. It also operates international sales business Contents Panda.