Cinemax plans 400 new screens by 2011

MUMBAI: Buyoed by the retail boom in the country, major multiplex players are stepping up on their expansion plans. On the anvil are the launches of new properties as well as acquisition of existing single screen theatres across the country.

After Fun Cinemas ambitious plans of rolling out 1500 screens across the country by 2011 with a budget of Rs 40 billion (Rs 4000 crores), Cinemax India is also planning to add another 400 screens to its existing 39 screens by 2011.

Cinemax vice president marketing Devang Samapat tells, “We will be building around 400 screens across India by 2011 in a phased manner. In the first phase, we are looking to build around 100 new screens at a cost of Rs 1.5 billion (Rs 150 crores).”

Speaking about the high catchment areas where multiplerxes are yet to enter, Sampant adds, “Our Guwahati property has reinstated our belief that smaller centers are actually the high catchment areas for exhibitors. We run an average occupancy of 80 per cent in the Guwahati property and it’s an encouraging response. Our expansion would target audiences who have not witnessed the multiplex phenomenon and the variety that it offers.”

The current estimates suggest that India needs more than 40,000 new screens to cater to its cinema hungry audiences. This in turn is good news for the multiplex owners who want to make most of this new business landscape. Media reports have also suggested that international companies like Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures are also eyeing the multiplex market in India and planning joint ventures with local players.

It remains to be seen how the single screen theatres plan to counter the threat that multiplexes pose. Would they devise some new strategies to save their identity or simply give in to the aggressive multiplex boom that’s waiting to happen?

Related story:
Fun Cinemas charts Rs 40 billion expansion plan

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