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MORELIA, Mexico – Mexican exhibition giant Cinepolis is gearing up to produce up to four or five films a year, said CEO Alejandro Ramirez as he took stock of the company’s “important” growth this past year.

He added that Cinepolis has “about 10 projects in development or pre-production.”

The company produced its first film last year, “Perfectos Desconocidos” by Manolo Caro, and has slated a May 2020 premiere for its next, the horror film “La Herencia del Mal” by Rodrigo Fiallega. The Cinepolis and Invicta Films co-production stars Camila Sodi, Juan Pablo Castañeda and Carlos Colombo.

“Herencia…” turns on Carmen, a journalist, who after the death of her mother and a miscarriage, retreats to her ancestral home to reconnect with her family’s history. While playing some VHS videos she has unearthed, she discovers that her grandmother had been an exorcist and upon further research, realizes that she herself was exorcised one summer in the house and that the demon still resides in her.

Production on Cinepolis’ next film, a remake of a Peruvian comedy, kicks off early next year, according to Miguel Rivera, Cinépolis global VP of programming and content.

Cinepolis has also been a major investor/partner in No Ficcion, a two-year old indie media company it co-founded with Elena Fortes and Daniela Alatorre. Focused on producing non-fiction content for multiple platforms, it has produced a string of hits, including Sundance winner “Midnight Family” by Luke Lorentzen, which Cinepolis distributes.

Cinepolis just launched an arthouse distribution unit, Sala de Arte, to complement its mainstream and Mexican films distribution unit, both run by Leo Cordero. Cinepolis Distribution just debuted its latest release, “Perdida,” in Morelia. The Mexican remake of Colombian producer Dynamo’s hit suspense thriller, “La Cara Oculta,” is directed by Jorge Michel Grau.

On the exhibition side, Cinepolis has cemented its position as the second largest circuit in the world in terms of admissions, with a recent tally of 360 million attendees, excluding Indonesia, said Ramirez, who has run the family-owned company since 2004.

Founded in 1971, Cinepolis is currently in 18 territories with more than 6,000 screens, and will soon open in its nineteenth, Saudi Arabia, said Ramirez, who flies out on Sunday to Riyadh. “Saudi Arabia has huge growth potential but we’ll expect some censorship,” he said.

With the ramping up of its production arm, Cinepolis completes its vertical integration. “We resisted the temptation for many years [to open a production division] but our distribution arm has been doing well although it’s still relatively small,” he noted, adding that the company only releases films in Mexico and Central America and production is limited to Mexico.

Taking stock of the 17th Morelia Int’l Film Festival, which Cinepolis sponsors, Ramirez was pleased, despite the fact that they had to shave 25% off last year’s budget. “It was more austere this year, but we still had Robert Redford, Willem Dafoe, James Ivory and some great films in competition,” he observed.